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Friends and Planes Do Not Mix

March 11, 2007

JD perished in the crash of his friend’s aircraft only two weeks ago. At the point when we expected JD’s details to be published in the papers Garuda Flight GA200, a 737-400 crashes in Indonesia. One of the survivors is Mick Hatton, close colleague and friend with whom I served while in the Air Force. I read his name in the papers but in the initial reports his name was not associated with the Air Force. So I figured it really could have been anyone. But the following day the press revealed his rank so I guessed it may well be my friend. That evening I saw TV images of him on a stretcher on a Yogyakarta hospital floor. The following day TV footage captured him hobbling off his flight home to Darwin with his arm in plaster and looking a bit worse for wear. It’s a thin joke around some at the moment – If you know me, stay away from planes!

There is a lighter side to all the press that I know Mick will appreciate, as will anyone who has served in the military. Mick is a military policeman. And a Senior NCO at that. Over the last few days Mick has been reported in the press as an officer, and as a pilot. He is neither and the standard retort of a “I am not an officer, I work for a living” comes to mind. He is a gentleman though! And even though he looks pretty beat up here (in bed) with fellow air force crash survivor, he is a fit fellow and will bounce back. Even though he can’t catch me on Castle Hill!!

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