Australian Embassy

First Indonesians to Receive Australian Bravery Medals

Media Release

26 May 2009

First Indonesians to Receive Australian Bravery Medals

The Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, Bill Farmer, today presented Australian Bravery Medals to four Indonesian men from Tuindrao Village on Nias Island. Australian Bravery Medals are awarded to individuals for acts of bravery in dangerous situations.

“It is a great honour to be able to present these medals to our Indonesian friends who risked their lives to save the lives of Australians during a tragic accident,” Mr Farmer said.

On 2 April 2005, an Australian Navy helicopter with 11 Australian Defence Force personnel onboard, crashed while delivering emergency medical aid to victims of an earthquake on the west coast of Sumatra.

Tragically nine Australians lost their lives in the crash but through the courageous efforts of four men from Tuindrao village, two men were saved.

In January 2009, the Governor General of Australia, HE Ms Quentin Bryce, recommended that Australian Bravery Medals be given to the four men Mr Benar Giawa, Mr Adiziduhu Harefa, Mr Motani Harefa and Mr Seti Eli Ndruru. The citation reads:

“During its deployment to assist earthquake victims in Indonesia, a Royal Australian Navy Sea King helicopter crashed into a soccer field in the village of Tuindrao on Nias Island. Mr Benar Giawa, Mr Adiziduhu Harefa, Mr Motani Harefa and Mr Seti Eli Ndruru raced to the site of the wreckage and saw a passenger attempting to extract himself and another man from the broken tail of the aircraft. Despite the shock of witnessing the crash and seeing several explosions, the four men approached the scene and helped free one, and then a second surviving serviceman. Together they carried the men to safety away from the crash site, made the Australians comfortable and provided medical first aid… By their actions, they displayed considerable bravery.”

These four men are the first Indonesians to be awarded the Australian Bravery Medal.

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