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Pilot describes catastrophic six seconds in Black Hawk tragedy, 25 years on

Neil Breen
Article image for Pilot describes catastrophic six seconds in Black Hawk tragedy, 25 years on

Tomorrow marks the 25th anniversary of the worst peacetime military disaster in Australian history: the Black Hawk tragedy. 

On the evening of June 12, 1996, two Black Hawk helicopters collided mid-air while performing counter-terrorism training exercises near Townsville.

Each of the two helicopters were carrying 14 crew when Black Hawk One hit the back of Black Hawk Two while they were flying in formation.

A total 18 men died in the crash, including 15 highly trained SAS soldiers.

Colonel David Burke was piloting Black Hawk Two and managed to land his severely damaged helicopter upright, saving the lives of many onboard.

“Living through an event like that is something you never forget, and it’s with you all the time,” he told Neil Breen.

Colonel Burke told Neil it took just “five or six seconds” for his helicopter to fall to the ground.

“The biggest shock for me was I was still alive at the end of it.

“At one stage, I actually thought it was all over and I actually apologised to my crew and said ‘sorry, guys, we’re dead’.”

Press PLAY below to hear Colonel Burke’s describe living the tragedy

Image: Nine News 

Neil Breen
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