Afghanistan/Australien — Three Australian soldiers killed, seven wounded in Afghanistan helicopter incident

The Aus­tralian Defence Force has con­firmed that ear­ly this morn­ing (21 June 2010) an inci­dent involv­ing a coali­tion heli­copter has result­ed in the death of three Aus­tralian sol­diers.

Sev­en Aus­tralian sol­diers were also wound­ed.

The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Mar­shal Angus Hous­ton, said the three sol­diers killed were Com­man­dos from the Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Task Group.

“The fam­i­lies of these sol­diers can be extreme­ly proud of their loved ones. These three indi­vid­u­als were mem­bers of a very impres­sive group of sol­diers who were high­ly skilled and high­ly moti­vat­ed,” Air Chief Mar­shal Hous­ton said.

“These three sol­diers were very expe­ri­enced. Time after time they have tak­en the fight to the ene­my with courage and deter­mi­na­tion I have noth­ing but admi­ra­tion for these very brave and com­mit­ted Aus­tralians. They were some of our finest.”

Air Chief Mar­shal Hous­ton said the cause of the heli­copter crash would be inves­ti­gat­ed, how­ev­er, it appeared not to be the result of ene­my action.

All the wound­ed per­son­nel have been evac­u­at­ed from the inci­dent site and are cur­rent­ly being treat­ed at the Kan­da­har Role III Med­ical Facil­i­ty.

Three Aus­tralian sol­diers who suf­fered the most seri­ous wounds will be moved lat­er today to the US mil­i­tary hos­pi­tal in Bagram when their con­di­tion sta­bilis­es.

As the oper­a­tion remains ongo­ing, fur­ther details can­not be pro­vid­ed.

Air Chief Mar­shal Hous­ton extend­ed his sym­pa­thies to the fam­i­lies of the three sol­diers on behalf of the ADF.

“We in the ADF are doing every­thing we can to sup­port them at this time, but obvi­ous­ly they are very shocked and very dis­tressed. I there­fore ask you to respect their pri­va­cy as they grieve,” Air Chief Mar­shal Hous­ton said.

16 Aus­tralian Defence Force per­son­nel have been killed since oper­a­tions in Afghanistan began in 2001.

Media con­tact: Defence Media Liai­son: (02) 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia