Australia’s yachting community has paid tribute to ABC pilot Gary Ticehurst, who is feared dead in a chopper crash in South Australia.
His colleagues, veteran journalist Paul Lockyer and cameraman John Bean, were also on board the helicopter that crashed near Lake Eyre yesterday evening.
Ticehurst covered three decades of Sydney to Hobart yacht races and was an integral part of the rescue operations during the disastrous 1998 race in which six sailors died and five yachts sank.
Veteran yachting journalist and former Sydney to Hobart media director Peter Campbell says Ticehurst was well-known in yachting circles.
“A great loss, he was a wonderful character, a wonderful pilot, an absolutely wonderful, fearless pilot,” he said.
“He made a great contribution to the Sydney to Hobart race and yachting in general, because of his ability to to get close and capture those moments of drama at sea.
“And of course, he played a vital role in the search and rescue in 1998 in the gale, he was out there spotting boats and relaying their position and then again in the rescue of the upturned yacht Skandia, he was very much involved in that.
“He was instrumental in finding the positions of various yachts, he was out above the water in terrible conditions … he did make a very important contribution by relaying messages and that sort of thing.”