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Taipan crash hearings resume in Brisbane

written by Robert Dougherty | June 20, 2024

A 6th Aviation Regiment MRH-90 Taipan helicopter on the flight line at sunset before conducting night flight training from HMAS Albatross in Nowra, New South Wales. (Image: LSIS Nadav Harel/Defence)

Hearings are once again underway for the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force’s (IGADF) inquiry into the MRH-90 Taipan.

The IGADF appointed an inquiry to rigorously examine the circumstances and cause of deaths regarding the fatal crash of the Australian Army MRH-90 Taipan helicopter, callsign Bushman 83, late last year. The Taipan fleet was grounded permanently following the incident.

The aircraft catastrophically crashed into the water near Lindeman Island while conducting night-time training during Exercise Talisman Sabre; resulting in the deaths of Captain Danniel Lyon, Lieutenant Maxwell Nugent, Warrant Officer Class Two Joseph Laycock, and Corporal Alexander Naggs.

The inquiry will attempt to determine whether actions or inactions by ADF personnel or others; compliance or non-compliance with policies and procedures; or other matters were contributing factors.

“Leading the inquiry is former Justice the Honourable Margaret McMurdo AC, who will be supported by Air Vice-Marshal Geoff Harland AM CSC DSM, a senior Air Force officer with considerable aviation and air safety experience who has recently retired from full-time service,” according to a public statement.

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“The Inquiry will be assisted by barrister, Colonel Jens Streit, who is a senior Army Reservist. Additional Assistant Inspectors General ADF have also been assigned to the Inquiry Team.”

The first public hearing was held in Brisbane on Tuesday, 27 February 2024. The second phase of the Inquiry’s public hearing was held from Monday, 29 April 2024 to Friday, 3 May 2024. The Inquiry’s third phase public hearing will be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre commencing at 10am on Monday. 17 June 2024 and will conclude by 5pm on Friday, 21 June 2024. The duration of the hearing phase is five days.

The fifth day of the hearing will commence at 11am on Friday, 21 June, and will be livestreamed.

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