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Two Ansett Captains Commit Suicide: Stress Blamed

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Two Ansett Captains Commit Suicide: Stress Blamed

Old 6th Oct 2001, 21:40
  #1 (permalink)  
The Guvnor
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Unhappy Two Ansett Captains Commit Suicide: Stress Blamed

From the Sun-Herald

Two Ansett pilots kill themselves
By Candace Sutton

Two Ansett pilots have taken their lives since the collapse of the nation's second largest airline.

The Sun-Herald has learnt that both pilots were captains.

One was already on stress leave from the airline when he took his life.

The other, a Sydney man and the father of two adult children, gassed himself in his car after Ansett's crash.

While the Ansett Pilots Association has declined to comment on the deaths, a former Ansett employee said at least one death was connected to financial problems.

According to sources, many pilots who find themselves out of work are having to come to terms with lost entitlements and share portfolios worth up to $2million each.

With their financial futures wrecked and their family savings up in smoke, pilots are seeking counselling from psychologists provided by the union.
Old 7th Oct 2001, 01:49
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That is just too tragic for words,
surely somone should be held accountable,
come on Aus' Government, get your act together, look after these folk,
ok, the airline is bankrupt, but what about
the taxes they will have been paying all these years, surely there must be some
funds available to help in such a desperate
situation as now, and what about when things pick up again, think ahead, support these guys now !!!!

my heart goes out to the families left behind
and to the poor souls lost.

May they rest in peace.
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Old 7th Oct 2001, 05:42
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Can someone PLEASE delete this tread?
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Old 7th Oct 2001, 06:09
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I fully agree with old timer. The personal repercussions from the lingering ansett crisis are enormous and it is a time where all staff should be looking out for their mates. It's time to use your own assessment skills and make a decision as to wether any of your friends or family are at risk of taking their lives rather than living with the emotional trauma. If you suspect that a friend or relative is entertaining suicide as an escape from the despair, ASK THEM. The most common warning signs are sadness, distress, anger, hoplessness (i don't know what to do), helplessness (inability to control the situation), mood swings, depression, self neglect (hygiene), poor energy, disinterest in previously like activities, loss of apetite, insomnia, change in sexual activity, difficulty in decision making, tunnel vision, deliberate self harm, guilt (perhaps over inability to provide for the family) loneliness, poor future orientation, no plans, giving away posessions, increase in drug/alcohol use, social isolation, uncharacteristic risk taking behaviour, history of suicide ideation, impatience, verbal statements (i'd be better of dead" or similar). The list goes on. Many ansett staff will self identify with a mixture of the above. To a degree this is normal under the circumstances. However, if you note that a freind or family member has any of the above, and it is lasting perhaps abnormalyy longer or stronger than you would judge as being appropriate for them, raise the issue with them. People suicide as they feel they are trapped with no solutions to their problem. They become confused as to wether to live or take their life. Most often, they want to live, but can't endure the pain or see an alternative. The best help comes from friends and family.

There is an alternative, you need to be patient. When the grieving is over, you will all have the ability to think more clearly and organise lives & finances accordingly. Stay strong.
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Old 7th Oct 2001, 06:23
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You are correct this is a tragic situation and yes someone should be held accountable and I note that you say the Australian Government should get their act together.

Firstly it is Air New Zealand that should be accountable for all the mess that Ansett is in, and, it is they who should be covering the entitlements as they owned the company and managed it. It should be the NZ Government coughing up the millions of dollars worth of entitlements.

Sure they have handed over AUS$200 million and done a number of other things that now essentially make them non liable from what I can understand. AUS$200 million is hardly a drop in the ocean compared to what our friends at Ansett need.

The Australian Government has under written ticket sales for the next 12 weeks and their is a possibility that this may be extended.

I really feel for all the Ansett employees and my heart goes out to them, I can only begin to imagine what hard times they are going through.

PS Scando there is no need to delete this thread!
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Old 7th Oct 2001, 08:47
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I feel for those two Ansett pilots. I went through the trauma of suicide but was fortunate not to do it. If you feel strongly and want to go into print on this subject to force the powers to consider pilots health more responsibly, there are some contacts addresses on my web site. www.thelifestoryofsantaclaus.com/qantaspilot
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Old 7th Oct 2001, 09:42
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Tom O'Donnell
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there is a free employment site for australian aviation workers. Trust me, the owner is not cashing in on anything, not making any money, just trying to help ansett workers and other aviation people find work and to give people some hope and stop **** like this from happening during this screwed up time in Aus Aviation.
web page
Such a tragedy. No life is worth losing...
Old 7th Oct 2001, 19:25
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How dare you !!!!! ?????
I thought you were for the " survival of the fittest " ???
Well here you are ! 2 down already. Are you coming yet or do you need some more ???
You are very sick you know ?
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Old 7th Oct 2001, 20:41
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The Guvnor
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Wallabie - try not to be a complete self-centred to$$er all your life, eh?

The reason I posted this is to highlight the very real problems being encountered by the many tens of thousands of our colleagues who have been, or are facing, redundancy. For many, their jobs have been all that they have had - and to lose them is to lose everything that they feel is worth living for.

Many also lose their feelings of self worth as they are no longer the bread-winners, and are plagued by doubts about their own abilities.

What is needed at times like this is a support mechanism where instead of people having to face things on their own, they can have the companionship of their colleagues and friends. It's important as well that they be allowed to express their feelings of anxiety.

In the UK, the Samaritans can be reached on 08457 90 90 90 and in the Republic of Ireland it's 1850 60 90 90.

You're not alone.
Old 7th Oct 2001, 23:19
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Scando, why the hell do you want this thread deleted, it is about time attention was brought to the very serious issue of psychological illnesses in pilots - and indeed any professional who is responsible for other's lives.

Have a look at this thread in the Medical and Health forum - some very serious issues are raised here and I suggest you read it -


How long before the next catastrophe? This is the kind of thing the airlines and the industry want to keep very quiet, just like the DVT problem. My view is that the only way to tackle it is to get it out in the open and remove the stigma attached to mental illness. Uphill battle, but it's underway at least.

Please do not delete this thread. A very uncomfortable subject I know but one that has to be addressed.
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Old 8th Oct 2001, 00:15
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You can discuss this matter as much as you want, but it's not necessary to plaster the tragic end of two of our colleagues on a public wall, in order to do so. There are familys, friends and colleagues to consider. No one should have to see their loved ones reduced to "a topic", or a basis for a mudslinging contest (as threads here often end up with).

I suffer with their families.

Rest in peace.
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Old 8th Oct 2001, 00:47
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Whatever we might say about other issues,this type of news is always tragic.
Having lost my job a number of years ago,I am aware of a number of people who have felt that this is the only way out.
The only solution is the group of people around you,because give it a couple of months and you become an embarrassment to people around you such as neighbours and even relatives,because quite frankly,most couldn`t care less because it didn`t happen to them.The longer it goes the worse it gets.
My sympathies to the families and I do think these threads should be removed.
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Old 8th Oct 2001, 01:00
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SID555 is right. It's only by ensuring that this very serious issue gets aired that - hopefully - peoples' lives will be saved.

By brushing this thread and its subject matter under the table as some want - and making it a taboo subject - it only increases the level of isolation felt by the sufferers of clinical depression - and that in turn increases the severity of their downward spiral.
Old 8th Oct 2001, 05:48
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Guys like it or not we are now in the era of high awarness aviation with that brings more stress than we have probably ever had to deal with in our careers. The events of the last month and the ongoing uncertainties of the future will in fact lay even more pressure on all aircrew both at the front and in the back, so coupled with the pressures of our jobs as they are, we will all need to be aware of ways to cope and deal with the changes that are happening.

Just reading some of the recent posts on Prune shows me that there are still a lot of people who do not have the ability to deal with things other than slagging and inflating their egos by bringing others they work with down.

So be very aware of what you say to your co workers and take on a positive persona that will help and encourage methods of coping.
We are living in difficult times!

Remember it is the people who seem to have it all together that usually have the highest levels of stress.
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Old 8th Oct 2001, 08:07
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Suicide is a tragic event, made all the more tragic because there are often warning signs that indicate that someone may be considering this option.

Unless these things are talked about, then those signs may be missed and someone else ends up taking their life, with the ripples of such an event touching many lives.

Suicide must always be viewd as a possiblity among those who are under extreme stress. Analysis of suicidal behaviour often reveals the presence of conflicting forces that compete for the greater share of the person's mental energies. At issue is the will to live versus the will to die. Plans for self-destruction often proceed siumultaneously with fantasies of rescue.

Given this ambivalence, one way to assist people who are experiencing a suicidal crisis is to help them discover somethng about themselves that matters, hoever small or insignificant it may seem. Suicidal thoughts and behaviours indicate a critical loss of a person's belief in himself. Nevertheless, the desire to help a suicidal person should be tempered by the recognition that the sustaining motive to survive cannot come from outside, it must be generated from within the potentailly suicidal person.

Having said that, expert help from a mental health professional is essential. Therefore, if you suspect someone is suicidal, then you need to try and get them to see a professional. Encourage your friend to talk and to take positive steps to improve his situation. If you feel there is an immediate danger of suicide, ensure that the person is not left alone.

Please, give some serious consideration to these things for those friends you think may be at risk.

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Old 8th Oct 2001, 10:14
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Many good points already made.
Went along to the funeral of one who I knew.The church was packed with family and colleagues. Many, many more would have been there from interstate but for the present travel bottleneck.

A fine fellow and good pilot. His brother and sister along with other family members gave a very touching summation of his personality and their deep regard for him and the abiding sense of loss.

The really sad part, as well as for his family and child, is that I can't help wondering if he would still be with us if he knew so many cared.

[ 08 October 2001: Message edited by: pterodactyl ]
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Old 9th Oct 2001, 03:32
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We have the services of a mental health expert (who is also an ATPL) available.

If you are concerned about about a colleague, your own feelings or those of member of your family we can help with the normal PPRuNe confidentiality.

The 'contact us caption' appears on every page.

Rob Lloyd
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