Published: April 2018
On the morning of 5 May 1998, HMAS Westralia proceeded to sea. As the engines were brought to full power hoses burst. Flames erupted and thick, black smoke filled the engine room. The crew fought bravely to save their ship but were unable to save midshipman Megan Pelly, Petty Officer Shaun Smith, Leading Seaman Bradley Meek and Able Seaman Phillip Carroll.
The human cost was lost in the battle and blame game between different government departments and private companies. The families wanted the truth and genuine compassion but their hard-fought battle for justice revealed a labyrinth of innuendo concerning fraud, nepotism, dishonesty, incompetence and official cover-up. The questions remained: Who was responsible? And would they be held accountable?
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