Dave Lassam - A Sea King helicopter accident

Running time
2 min 1 sec
Date made
Place made
Department of Veterans' Affairs


The team that was assembled originally on the ship, the medics that came to it, one of the guys that died was on my little team of four. So I came away with, there were four of us from Sydney, and we're going home with only three. So that affected me afterwards quite heavily. At the time, I think it was, it was just stunned, everybody was stunned. This doesn't happen. No, no you can't, which is a typical response.

However, the training and the ability of defence personnel to just kick straight into the mode that they need to be in is almost automatic. And it can be quite automaton at times when you think about it, but that's why we have to do it because usually, in wartime, or this sort of thing, it's something pretty horrible going on but you've got to get through it to make sure that everybody, as many people survive as possible, whatever's happened.

The mood on board was pretty bad, everybody knew somebody and even if they didn't, it was one of ours, one or a nine of ours had passed and even if you didn't know them, it was a part of the Navy, Army, or the Air Force. It was part of them that had gone and we need to be able to get around that and then fix everything up and then grieve a bit later.

And that's how it does work in defence, you have to literally do it, and get on with it and then think about a bit later and that's when it tends to, the morale tends to, let's not say morale, but the grieving takes place and you're angry and all those things start to happen, usually after a fair way after because we're trained to get through whatever's happened. Save lives If you have to, especially medical people, and then when that's finished, then you can have a think about it and go away and go, "Yeah, okay".


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