Digger killed, two hurt in E Timor road crash
MARK DODD AND LEO SHANAHAN
September 16, 2011
AN Australian soldier was killed and two others were injured in a vehicle accident in East Timor yesterday morning, diplomatic and defence sources said.
The accident occurred in eastern Baucau near the village of Bucoli, about 10km west of the provincial airport, a diplomatic source in Dili said.
The cause of the crash is not known, but the accident happened "on a steep bend in a heavily forested area", said one diplomat.
It is understood that the dead soldier, Craftsman Beau Pridue, was a Sydney-based army reservist.
He was travelling in an army truck providing support for the Tour de Timor, an international mountain-bike race.
The two injured soldiers were reported to have been airlifted for emergency care.
A Defence spokesman confirmed "a serious incident" had occurred in East Timor but gave no further details.
East Timor's President, Jose Ramos-Horta, said he was saddened by the accident, and offered his condolences to the dead soldier's family.
Mr Ramos-Horta said he was surprised such an accident had happened, given the condition of the road was excellent.
However, the country's narrow mountain roads have been the cause of numerous accidents involving Australian Defence Force vehicles in past years.
In April, an East Timorese man was killed and another was seriously injured when an army four-wheel-drive vehicle collided with a motorbike in Dili.
In December 2009, a woman was killed when an ADF vehicle hit her while she was travelling on a remote road.
The ADF has provided 360 soldiers to serve in East Timor's 460-member UN-backed International Stabilisation Force in the island nation.
The last Australian soldier to die in East Timor was Private Ashley Baker, who was found shot dead in his Dili barracks in late 2007.
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