Queenstown man loses legs to bomb

BROOKE GARDINER
Last updated 05:00 30/08/2012
Curtis-McGrath
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LUCKY TO BE ALIVE: Curtis McGrath

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A former Queenstown man serving in the Australian Army in Afghanistan is lucky to be alive after an improvised explosive device blew up, injuring him and three other soldiers.

Ex-Wakatipu High School student Curtis McGrath, 24, is believed to have lost both his legs in the explosion, which occurred in the Uruzgan province during operations with the Afghan National Security Force last week.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that four Australian soldiers had been wounded, one seriously. The soldier who was seriously wounded was flown to Kandahar, before being transferred to a hospital in Germany.

The Southland Times understands that soldier is Mr McGrath, a combat engineer, who grew up in Queenstown before moving to Australia and joining the army.

A friend of Mr McGrath told The Southland Times Mr McGrath's Brisbane-based family had flown to Germany to be with him and hoped to be able to bring him back to Australia this weekend. "It's a miracle he is alive.

"He is in good spirits, well and truly alive, and will be transferred to Brisbane this weekend all going well."

A Wakatipu High School spokesperson confirmed the school had been informed of the incident involving Mr McGrath but did not comment further.

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said the soldiers would receive the best medical care possible. "The medical care they get, based on what I've observed, will be the very best their families could hope for," he said

. The Australian Defence Department declined to comment on the incident and would not disclose any personal details of soldiers wounded during operations, citing privacy.

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- The Southland Times

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