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Dela Salle Secondary School Commemorates 46th Anniversary of Caribou Crash

By Fidelis Sukina – EMTV News, Port Moresby


In 1972, 25 people lost their lives in one of the biggest fatalities for the Royal Australian Airforce.

This year marks 46 years on, since the crash which saw students from Dela Salle Secondary School lose their lives in the Caribou Crash.

Dela Salle Secondary School commemorated the 46th anniversary of the Caribou crash, which took the lives of five aircrews and 21 students from De La Salle and Popondetta Secondary. There were only four survivors.

The DHC-4 Caribou, crashed in the Kudjeru Gap near Bulolo, in Morobe Province on 28 August 1972; the students were part of the Australian Army School Cadet Corps attached to the 35th Infantry Battalion. They were returning from Lae after their term break military training.

Mass was celebrated with the students and staff, with representatives from the Royal Australian Airforce and families of the victims laying wreaths to commemorate the day.

Although the crash survivors were not present a the ceremony, Lenard Aldan, one of the first to the scene of the crash in Kudjeru was with his son on that fateful day, both laid wreaths to honor the fallen.

Len, as he is known to many, was with the PNG Volunteer Rifles and was part of the rescue effort in 1972; he recalls the three-day ordeal which they pushed through to reach the crash site.

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