Members of the Australian Defence Staff in Jakarta recently ventured to the island of Nias, off the north west coast of Sumatra. They attended a memorial service commemorating the nine ADF servicemen and women who lost their lives when their Sea King helicopter, call sign ‘Shark 02’, operating from HMAS Kanimbla, crashed while contributing to disaster relief tasks as part of Operation SUMATRA ASSIST.
Following the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami and the March 2005 earthquake, HMAS Kanimbla was stationed off the Sumatran coast providing humanitarian relief to the people of Indonesia, where over 230,000 lost their lives, and 1.7 million were displaced.
Since this tragic accident, the Australian Defence Section Jakarta has built and maintained a strong relationship with officials and residents of Tuindrao village in Nias, visiting on a biennial basis to maintain these links through commemorative services and community aid projects.
Following the Shark 02 incident, in an expression of thanks to the support and bravery of the people of Tuindrao village, the Australian Government commenced a project providing a permanent source of fresh water to the village. Within this project, the Royal Australian Navy was instrumental in commissioning the construction of a monument dedicated to the sacrifice of the nine Australian Defence Force personnel who lost their lives and the heroic actions of the residents of Nias and Tuindrao village.
The Australian Defence Section Jakarta has a longstanding relationship with the people of Tuindrao village, and the ADF will be forever grateful to the people for the assistance they provided at that time. This sentiment was conveyed in earnest, where the last line of the 2018 service read:
"…and we remember the people of Nias, particularly Tuindrao village, who came to the assistance of ‘Shark 02’ when it crashed. We will forever be in your debt."