Sorrow at Black Hawk down

The Army Black Hawk crashed into the sea off Fiji as it attempted to land aboard HMAS Kanimbla.

Seven soldiers injured in the accident are now on their way home.

The search continues for the one still missing.

Major General Jeffery has sent his sympathy to everyone aboard HMAS Kanimbla who’ll be feeling a sense of loss and grief for their comrades.

He says service in the Defence Force always involves some degree of risk and that it is the nature of the job.

PM shares sentiment

Earlier, Mr Howard told media that he wanted to express his deepest sympathies to the families of those affected by the crash.

“I would like to say how very saddened I am about the helicopter crash,” Mr Howard speaking during a whirlwind visit to Malaysia.

“I extend my deepest sympathy to the family of the man who has lost his life.”

He said that like all Australians he was praying that the missing soldier was found and that the injuries of those who were rescued were not serious and they would be able to make a full recovery.

“This is just another reminder that we are dealing with a special group of people who take risks on our behalf,” Mr Howard said.

Townsville mourns

The north Queensland city of Townsville is in mourning following the death of a local army pilot in the Black Hawk helicopter crash.

The pilot was one of four Townsville-based soldiers on board the chopper when it crashed while trying to land on HMAS Kanimbla.

His name hasn’t been released although it’s believed his wife was notified last night.

Local Townsville politicians say the tragedy evokes memories of the 1996 Black Hawk disaster in which 18 men died when two Black Hawks collided near Townsville.