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National Safety Council of Australia (NSCA)

The National Safety Council of Australia (NSCA) was established at the West Sale aerodrome in 1980. By 1989 a staff of 430 had developed. The inventory of the NSCA included a fleet of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, a flag ship, mini-submarine, training yacht, divining tender and all kinds of rescue boats, cars, trucks and all terrain vehicles.

The NSCA became a world-class search and rescue organisation, setting the world standard for pararescue and set the world benchmark for hyperbaric services involving the use of portable decompression chambers for patients such as divers suffering from the bends.

The rapid growth and expertise of the NSCA did not save it from its collapse in 1989. Somehow Chief Executive John Friedrich (later identified as John Friedrich Hohenberger) had founded the whole of the NSCA on a deception. Money lenders were happy to finance his dream, believing that large steel containers were anything but empty! A man hunt ensued after Friedrich disappeared. In 1991 shortly before he was about to plead guilty in the Supreme Court to obtaining property by deception, Freidrich was found dead on his Seaton property with a revolver by his side.

It was discovered that Friedrich had entered Australia on 20 January 1975. Two days later, he completed departure forms but walked back in through the airports departure gates. It was determined that he had died at his own hand - a psychologist stating that he had been living in a world of total fantasy, the organisation supporting his self-delusion of importance and superiority.

It was never investigated as to how one man, acting alone, in a real world, was able to build up a world-class rescue organisation through such fantastic deceit!