10 Jul 2008

NZ-born soldier killed in Afghanistan

4:58 pm on 10 July 2008

A New Zealand-born soldier serving with the Australian defence force has been killed in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan.

Australia's defence chief Angus Houston says Sean McCarthy, 25, had joined the Australian Defence Force in 2001 and joined the SAS last year.

Signaller McCarthy, who was born in Auckland, had served in East Timor earlier this year and was on his second tour of Afghanistan.

He is the sixth Australian soldier to die in Afghanistan since 2002, and the second this year.

The head of New Zealand's Defence Force, Lieutenant-General Jerry Mateparae, says its thoughts and sympathies are with the family, friends and colleagues of Signaller McCarthy at this difficult time.

He says the Anzac relationship is a close one, and any death of a fellow soldier is a tragic occurrence.

Australia's Air Chief Marshal Houston said three soldiers and another coalition national were evacuated to coalition medical facilities immediately after the bombing, in Uruzgan Province, on Tuesday.

"Despite receiving the best possible medical attention, Signaller McCarthy succumbed to his wounds," he said.

"The injuries to the remaining two soldiers do not appear to be life-threatening. However they and the coalition national who was seriously wounded continue to be closely monitored."

Air Chief Marshal Houston said that because the injured soldiers were special forces their details would not be made public.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has praised Signaller McCarthy and his service record. He says the death of Sean McCarthy is a terrible loss not only to his family and the defence force, but to the Australian nation.