11 Mar 2005

Australian PM gives condolences to family of soldier killed in Solomons

2:23 pm on 11 March 2005

The Australian prime minister, John Howard, has extended his condolences to the family of a 21-year-old Australian soldier killed in an accident while on patrol in Solomon Islands.

The man, whose name has yet to be released, died of his injuries after falling down a 15 metre deep shaft during a patrol with Australian-led police east of the capital Honiara.

Mr Howard says he can only say to his family and to his mates in the army how very sorry he is.

The prime minister says whatever the circumstances, the soldier was there on Australia's behalf serving the interests of Australia.

Mr Howard says there was no suggestion the incident had been anything other than an accident.