Tributes flowed yesterday for Rockhampton-born ABC cameraman John Bean, one of three men killed in a helicopter crash.
Tributes flowed yesterday for Rockhampton-born ABC cameraman John Bean, one of three men killed in a helicopter crash. ABC

John Bean gone but not forgotten

THE ABC cameraman killed in a helicopter crash in South Australia was born and bred in Rockhampton.

John Bean, a veteran news gatherer, died along with ABC reporter Paul Lockyer and pilot Gary Ticehurst when their chopper fell to ground near Lake Eyre on Thursday evening.

Praise for Mr Bean, who lived in Parkhurst as a child, flowed yesterday as he was remembered as a consummate professional who was warm, friendly and able to put people at their ease.

Premier Anna Bligh led the tributes. “John was a delight to be around, with a kind and friendly word for everyone he met,” she said.

“There is barely a place in Queensland where he has not been, and on every story, in every place, he always cared for the people, wanting to portray their story to the absolute best of his abilities."

WIN News cameraman Kent Murray said Mr Bean, who started his career with WIN in Rockhampton, frequently returned to the city to visit family and friends.

“It’s a horrible shock,” said Kent.

“John was a good bloke. Nothing fazed him.

"He was a man who took pride in his work and was a perfect professional, but he was also very easy-going.”

He said Mr Bean worked in Rockhampton for three or four years in the early 1990s after graduating from university.

“He started doing commercial work.”

Graham Harvey, of the advertising agency Chris Fisher and Associates, was a commercial director when Mr Bean started work.

“He was a natural cameraman with a natural eye and he was so good to work with because, whatever the conditions, no matter how demanding the task, he was always very dedicated and always really cheerful.”

Mr Bean worked for the ABC for 20 years and was married to Landline reporter Pip Courtney.

The couple lived in Brisbane and Ms Courtney described him yesterday as the most wonderful husband a girl could wish for.

“I will be lost without him. Our families are devastated,” she said.

ABC managing director Mark Scott said: “He’s the cameraman that all the journalists wanted to take along and do the filming with.”

Others described him as a standout with a talent for bringing out the best in others.

The three men were filming a documentary about Lake Eyre when their helicopter crashed in a remote area about 150 kilometres north-west of Marree about 7.30pm Thursday.

Witnesses reported seeing a ball of flame and police said wreckage was scattered over a wide area in extremely boggy land.



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