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PALIKIR, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (March 29, 2000 – FSM Information Service)---A plane-side ceremony in honor of Australia diplomat Bruce Curley, who died in a diving accident in Pohnpei on March 26, was held yesterday before the flight carrying his casket left for Guam.

Diplomats and officials from the FSM and Pohnpei State Governments were there to pay their respect as Curley’s remains were carried by the National Police to the plane.

Ieske Iehsi, acting secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs, placed a wreath on the casket as it was taken to the plane.

Curley, first secretary of the Australian Embassy in Pohnpei, died at the age of 50.

He had a career in foreign affairs and served in many countries.

In a diplomatic note, the Australian Embassy advised foreign ministries, embassies and appropriate governors of the accident.

Iehsi, in a letter to the Australian Ambassador to the FSM, Timothy Cole, said, "It is a great tragedy when we lose our friends and colleagues with such promising futures and expectations."

He added that in the short time Curley has been on Pohnpei, he has become friends to many and he will surely be missed.

Acting Secretary Iehsi conveyed sincere condolences to the Ambassador and his staff and to Curley's family on behalf of Secretary Epel Ilon, who is in China, and the staff of the department.

"We in the department share in your loss and our prayers are with you in your time of sorrow and bereavement," Iehsi said.

"This is the first time that a diplomat had died in this country and we did what we could to assist with the preparation of the ceremony," said Matt Maradol, Foreign Service officer.

Ambassador Cole invited all who participated in the ceremony to his residence for refreshments.

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