Media release

Disturbance – Groote Eylandt


Alyangula Police have arrested three men following a large disturbance that occurred at the Groote Eylandt Airport on 31 December 2008.

Around 9:00 pm on Wednesday evening police attended the Airport in relation to information that persons on an incoming aircraft were carrying drugs.

On arrival several vehicles and approximately 60 people were waiting outside the airport.

Members conducted searches of passengers from the plane as several of the persons waiting at the airport became agitated.

The group then started to shower the building with rocks narrowly missing police, airport staff and other travellers, and continued to verbally threaten the police.

Several members of the group became hostile and approached police and the gates to the airport had to be closed to stop advancing community members.

Police were eventually able to disperse the crowd however as a result of the incident, two police vehicles had their tyres slashed.

Two 700ml bottles of spirits were seized during the search.

A 52-year-old male has been charged with bringing alcohol into a prescribed area, violent disorder and hindering police.

A 48-year-old male has been charged with violent disorder and hindering police and a 22-year-old male has been charged with criminal damage, violent disorder and hindering police.

All three men have been bailed to appear in Alyangula on 20 January 2009.

Police from the Territory Response Section and Nhulunbuy were flown in to assist local police.

Police are conducting further investigations in relation to possible co-offenders and further charges are expected to be laid in due course.

Media Contact:
Amy Sloan
8922 3365