Three ABC TV crew killed in helicopter crash

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Media captionABC director of News Kate Torney paid tribute to the three men

Three members of a TV news team - including a veteran reporter - have died in a helicopter crash in South Australia, police say.

Reporter Paul Lockyer, cameraman John Bean and pilot Gary Ticehurst were all employed by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Their helicopter went down in a remote area near Lake Eyre. The cause of the crash is being investigated.

ABC described the men as "news gatherers at the peak of their craft".

Image caption Paul Lockyer is one of ABC's most experienced journalists

"Paul, Gary and John have each given decades of service to the ABC. They are passionate about their work and finding great stories from all over Australia to bring to the public," ABC managing director Mark Scott said.

A tour guide who had been with the crew by Lake Eyre said they left in their helicopter shortly after 19:00 local time Thursday and crashed a minute later.

''We didn't hear anything, we just saw a glow. We realised something pretty bad had happened," guide Rex Ellis told ABC radio.

He reached the crash site an hour later and realised "it was too late".

The weather was reported to have been good at the time of the crash.

Blackened debris was found across a large area.

South Australia police have said formal identification of the three could take several days.

The cause of the crash is not known. The Australian Transport and Safety Bureau has sent investigators to the site.

The news crew was working on news and feature projects in the remote region.

ABC described Lockyer as one of its most experienced reporters, who had worked in Washington, Singapore and throughout Asia in a career spanning more than 40 years.

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