Police Minister Michelle Roberts has joined the families of four police officers killed in a plane crash 19 years ago, for a moving ceremony to commemorate their lives.
Senior Constables Donald Everett and Philip Ruland, First Class Constable David Dewar and Constable Gavin Capes were returning from the Aboriginal community of Kiwirrkurra when their plane’s engines failed and crashed just outside of Newman on Australia Day 2001.
The tragedy is the greatest loss of police life in a single incident in Western Australia’s history and had a profound impact on the community of Newman.
Around 200 people, including the families of the officers, gathered at the crash site this morning for a remembrance ceremony.
Later today, a series of community sporting events will be held across the township of Newman to fundraise for Western Australia Police Legacy.
The day will culminate with the Bloody Slow Cup, a fiercely contested rugby match between local members of the Australian and New Zealand communities.
The rugby match between Australians and Kiwis has become one of Newman’s major sporting and social events, and raises thousands of dollars for WA Police Legacy.
As stated by Police Minister Michelle Roberts:
“It’s been nearly 20 years since these four officers lost their lives and we do not forget.
“They were killed answering a community need.
“Events like this remind us that our officers put their lives on the line every day, and it reminds us about just how real that sacrifice can be.
“I thank all officers for their service, wherever it is across our State.
“I pay tribute to the work of Police Legacy, supporting those left behind.
“I also thank the community of Newman for their support and our local officers who have done a fantastic job organising this weekend.
“The Bloody Slow Cup weekend has been a continuing communal effort to ensure these officers’ sacrifice is never forgotten, but is always at the front of our hearts and minds.”