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Saturday, August 6, 2011

WA link in Indonesian chopper crash

INVESTIGATORS have blamed bad weather for the crash of a helicopter in Indonesia that killed two Australian mine workers and eight others.
The Australian men, identified by Indonesian officials as Barry Tomlinson and Adrian Aird, were travelling to the Gosowong gold mine in North Sulawesi operated by Melbourne-based company Newcrest Mining.
All 10 people on board the helicopter died, including two Indonesian crew, four Indonesian passengers and two South Africans. All of the passengers worked at the mine.

He was the life of the party, he had an excellent sense of humour, it was very dry, and everyone loved him. He was good. Too good to be gone," Margaret said yesterday.

Mr Aird followed in his father Sydney's footsteps and chose a career in the mines. He completed an apprenticeship as a fitter in Kalgoorlie before moving to Indonesia for the good pay about three years ago.

Mr Aird has three daughters from a previous marriage in Australia and his mother said he told her, when he visited Australia two weeks ago, that he was excited about becoming a father again.

Meanwhile in Perth, Mr Tomlinson's former colleagues at Remote Control Technologies remembered a talented technician and a proud grandfather.

He had visited his workmates only last Friday.

Former colleague Phil Goode said Mr Tomlinson was based in Perth but travelled regularly to Indonesia to work as an adviser.

He left Remote Control Technologies in April and planned to work at the mine for three years in order to save enough money for a comfortable retirement with his wife Lynne.

Mr Tomlinson was a Perth man while Mr Aird - originally from South Australia - had spent time working on the mines in Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

News Ltd is reporting that the other eight victims were employees or contractors of PT Nusa Halmahera Mineral, a joint venture between Newcrest Mining and PT Aneka Tambang.

The group was travelling to Gosowong Mine on Halmahera island. The cause of the crash is not known.

Mr Aird's mother Margaret told the Daily Telegraph her son was about to become a father for the fourth time.

"He was the life of the party, he had an excellent sense of humour, it was very dry, and everyone loved him. He was good. Too good to be gone," she said.

With three children from a previous marriage, Mr Aird was about to welcome his first child with Indonesian wife Joice.

Mr Tomlinson was working as a contractor in Indonesia after previously working for Remote COntrol Technologies in Perth.

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