A minor incident during the afternoon display of the RAAF's Newcastle Air Show on Saturday briefly forced the evacuation of swimmers from the water after a signalling device dropped from one of a P-8A Poseidon while it performed its manoeuvres over the water washed ashore under a strong current.
The 'marine marker smoke' is a device that the aircraft releases in search and rescue operations. It emits a non-toxic smoke that signals locations in the water.
As the current brought the smoking device ashore near the flags, Nobbys Surf Life Savers briefly called swimmers out of the water as a precaution while the canister was recovered. There were no reports of injuries.
In a brief statement to the Newcastle Herald on Sunday afternoon, November 19, Defence said the smoke is "non-toxic and harmless" and that the device is designed to continue to emit smoke for some time after contact with the water.
The marker was ultimately removed by the ADF, the department spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, police praised crowds at two major events in the city on Saturday, November 18. Local officers said the Air Show attracted thousands to the water to see the RAAF's aerial displays, and the region's richest horse race, The Hunter, came off without any reports of serious injury or incident.
The City of Newcastle, which partnered with the state and Air Force to bring Air Show to the skies over the city on Saturday, billed the showcase as the biggest single-day event in the region's history. Crowds in the thousands filled the sand on Nobbys Beach on Saturday morning, lined the headland, and spilled into Foreshore Park and along the water almost to Honeysuckle as spectators vied for the best vantage points.
The air show precedes a ticketed open day at RAAF Base Williamtown on Sunday, November 19, where spectators can get a closer look at the Air Force's fleet.
Meanwhile, across the city, six-year-old chestnut gelding Coal Crusher romped home to a decisive win in the region's million-dollar horse race, The Hunter. Coal Crusher, a $4.80 chance, burst out of the gates to lead easily in the 1300m quality handicap at Newcastle under Tyler Schiller before running the class field off their feet.
The gelding had the race in his keeping halfway up the straight, breaking the track record with a time of 1:15.49, and finishing 1.1 lengths clear of Peter and Paul Snowden-trained King Of Sparta. Rocketing By was third.
In 2023, the Newcastle Herald and its publisher, ACM, partnered with Racing NSW in a landmark deal that included naming rights for the million-dollar race now known as the Newcastle Herald Hunter.
The deal with ACM also included naming rights for the similarly prized million-dollar Gong, a 1600-metre race bearing the name of the Herald's sister publication, the Illawarra Mercury, which will be run a Kembla Grange on Saturday, November 25.