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Army September 17, 2009
By WO2 Graham McBean
ARMY adventurous training staff were
just 400m from Victorian Water Minister
Tim Holding when he was plucked from
Mt Feathertop on September 1.
The 15 personnel from ARTC began an
adventurous training team leader's course
in back-country skiing on August 22.
The course was in the Mt Hotham area
when news of Mr Holding's disappearance
began flooding the media.
ARTC Adventurous Training Wing's
WO2 Darryl Heaslip approached Victorian
police on August 31 to offer assistance in
WO2 Heaslip said there was a signifi-
cant pool of expertise within the course
that could contribute to the search. The
police welcomed the Army involvement in
"We went down to Bright and spoke
with the police sergeant in charge who
said he would be happy for our help and
experience," WO2 Heaslip said.
The five staff and 10 students made
their way to Federation Hut on Mt
Feathertop. They were briefed by police
search co-ordinators on the last known
position of Mr Holding based on triangu-
lations of phone signals.
WO2 Heaslip said the soldiers had
done a route calculation and raised a
search patrol plan and were in the process
of searching for the minister when he was
"The first team was approximately
400m from where the minister was found
and the second team was on a spur just
across from him," he said.
ARTC staff in search
In the thick of
training staff use
to search for the
Cool and calm:
The search team
sets up camp on
By Capt Lauren Sanders
and WO2 Graham McBean
SGT Damion King has been recog-
nised with a bravery award after help-
ing two soldiers escape from a sub-
merged vehicle in February 2008.
The Darwin-based 1CSSB soldier
received a Commendation for Brave
Conduct after the vehicle plunged
into Corroboree Creek in the Northern
Territory during a driving course.
Ptes Matthew Pullen and Aimian
Magyak were attempting to negotiate a
flooded roadway in an ambulance when
it was swept 25m from the road.
It was when the windscreen burst into
the cabin of the ambulance from water
pressure in the swollen NT creek that
the occupants thought they might have
Travelling in the vehicle behind them,
Sgt King watched as the swollen waters
washed the six-tonne ambulance down-
stream. He immediately jumped into the
waters to render assistance.
Sgt King was modest in his accept-
ance of the award saying he was "sur-
prised and happy" to receive the com-
"At the end of the day, as an instruc-
tor and as a sergeant, I had a duty of care
to make sure everything is right," Sgt
"Obviously, when you go through an
accident you do everything you can do
to preserve everyone involved and make
sure they are OK."
Sgt King held on to the top of the
cabin to stop himself from being swept
During the river crossing Pte Pullen,
the driver instructor, saw the potential
danger in the crossing and both he and
Pte Magyak unclipped their seatbelts
before their vehicle was washed down-
As the windscreen gave way it
impaled on the gear stick and added
to the confusion in the cabin while the
water pressure prevented them from
opening the doors.
Sgt King said both soldiers basically
helped themselves out through the driv-
er's window with some assistance from
him.Instructor Pte Pullen, in the passen-
ger side, was underwater for about 90
"I didn't think I could hold my breath
that long," Pte Pullen said.
He said it "was basically a bit of bad
luck" but when they went into the river
they immediately began to prepare to
exit the vehicle.
"There was three inches of water
running across the Arnhem Highway
and we were at the only spot between
Corroboree Park and Mt Bundy where
there was a river crossing and we man-
aged to pull into that.
"When the windscreen came in I
didn't think about much at all except we
have got to get out of here -- it just filled
up pretty quick after that."
Commander 1 Bde Brig Michael
Krause said it was important to recog-
nise acts of bravery by personnel during
service within Australia.
"This act of bravery demonstrates the
kind of courage we applaud from our
soldiers," Brig Krause said.
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