First off, obviously it’s great that Tim Holding was found safe and well.

But there was one element of this story (unrelated to Holding himself) that’s a bit strange:

A private aircraft, not related to the search, spotted Mr Holding last night while he was wearing a headlamp given to him by his partner for his birthday last month.

Deputy Comissioner Kieran Walshe said he could not discuss the use of the aircraft because of security reasons.

The plane had spied a possible camp site overnight, narrowing the search area this morning.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said the plane used was not a police plane but she could not comment further on the aircraft.

A mysterious “private aircraft” that spotted Holding’s campsite but can’t be discussed further for “security reasons”? WTF?

If it was an Australian private aircraft, what possible “security reasons” would there be for not discussing it?

One possibilities that come to mind is that one law enforcement agency or another has aerial surveillance capabilities that they don’t want to publicize too widely. Another is that it was an Australian Army helicopter on SAS training operations; it’s not beyond the realms of plausibility that the SAS conducts training missions on Feathertop (where else are they going to practice working in snow?)

Still, it’s more than a little odd; perhaps the Victoria police might have done better to not mention it at all.

2 Responses to “Weird”

  1. Dave Bath says:

    Good pickup.

    “Private” and “Military” aren’t mutually exclusive… Blackwater/Xe. Hope that isn’t what is happening here, but your guess on surveillance capabilities is probably spot on. Then again, perhaps they REALLY blew the budget and retasked a satellite.

  2. admin says:

    It later came out that the plane was an AFP-leased light plane equipped with an infra-red surveillance camera.

    Lots of police forces around the world are acquiring them, apparently without all the hoo-ha secrecy.

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