A charity campaign for the family of a “devoted husband” and “committed father” killed in a helicopter crash has raised $12,000 in just one day.
Captain Danniel “Diesel” Lyon was on board the MRH-90 Taipan when it crashed during exercises off the Whitsunday coast on July 28.
A widespread search was quickly scrambled to find Captain Lyon and his three crewmen; tragically, they were declared dead just days later and no bodies have been recovered.
In the wake of the father-of-two’s sudden death, a GoFundMe campaign was set up on Wednesday to support Captain Lyon’s young family.
Organiser Caitlin Ancell said the family’s “profound loss” could not be described in the words, and called on the community to support them.
“Danniel was a devoted husband to his loving wife and a committed father to his two young children aged five and one,” Ms Ancell said.
“He was a best friend to many in various global communities, whom all loved him so dearly. Their lives are now forever changed.
“We ask for help to support Dan’s wife and children as they navigate life without him over the coming days, months, and years.
“The family are eternally grateful for all the kind wishes, thoughts and prayers they have received (and) help in keeping Dan’s memory alive.”
The crash during exercise under Talisman Sabre drew national attention as military, police, and civilian agencies scrambled to find the crew.
Emergency services battled heavy winds, powerful swells, and deep operating depths off the popular tourist hotspot on the Queensland coast.
After almost two weeks of searching, the Department of Defence announced on Wednesday it had recovered the helicopter’s black box.
In a statement, Defence revealed a navy dive crew had been able to recover the flight recorder which was handed to the Queensland Coroner.
The ADF previously announced it had found – but not identified – human remains at the crash site via remotely-operated underwater vehicles.
The news comes as families of the four men begin to grieve the loss of fathers, husbands, and sons, as Defence moved into a recovery phase.
Born in Dubbo, Captain Lyon joined the Australian Army in 2010 and was deployed during operations on White Island in 2019.
A statement from Captain Lyon’s family described him as a “decorated pilot and highly respected troop commander within Army Aviation”.
“Danniel’s smile could brighten even the darkest days,” the family said.
“His light shone so brightly, we cannot imagine a world without it.”
Lieutenant Maxwell Nugent, Warrant Officer Joseph Phillip Laycock, and Corporal Alexander Naggs were also killed in the crash.
The three men were described in statements from grieving loved ones as “loving”, “generous”, and an “inspiration to their family”.
Only hours after the campaign for Captain Lyon’s family launched it had already raised more than $12,000.
More than 100 people donated to the campaign in amounts as high as $500, with more than $2000 donated on Thursday morning.