As Firmin Nanol reports, the Cessna Citation burst into flames at the end of a runway on Misima Island in Milne Bay province in August 2010.
Presenter: Firmin Nanol
NANOL: The Chief Executive Officer of PNG's Accident Investigations Commission, David Inau, says the report is clear and conclusive, that the plane attempted to land on the runway that was covered in water, in bad weather conditions.
He says the aim of the findings is not to blame others, but the investigation's concluded that given the weather, the runway was not suitable for landing as the water affected the aircraft's brakes.
The report says the operator did not take safety precautions to prevent the fatal crash as the same plane was previously involved in a similar incident, when its tyres bogged in mud at the same airstrip in February 2010.IN fEBR.(some time earlier.)
INAU: We are not here to blame anybody, we've delivered all the evidence and information in the report, so it's up to you and anybody who will be reading this report to make their own conclusion. If you read the report, you will find that the report did state the incident happened. It was not reported to the authorities, so it was not investigated fully and no action was taken.
NANOL: He says all airlines operating in the country should report such incidents to the relevant regulatory authorities so improvements can be made to the aerodromes and aircraft in operation. David Inau says in this case, the operator TransAir did not notify them and is no longer operating in the country.
INAU: Well, we have in place legislation that requires pilots, weather people, engineers, anybody whose working in the aviation industry. If they notice anything that, can contribute to an accident, they must report it under the Civil Aviation Act and the regulations as well. So it's incumbent on every operator, every person involved in aviation to report matters of safety concern.
NANOL: PNG's Accident Investigations Commission was set up in 2010, following several fatal plane crashes in the country. Its CEO, David Inau says it has taken so long to conclude investigations into major crashes due to logistics and staff to do the work for the Commission.
INAU: It's taken this long to release the report, because the processes involved are very lengthy. We have to travel to interview pilots, interview relatives of the survivors, interview pilots who are involved in the previous incident at Misima and then we have to have the engines analysed in a testing laboratory, which is not available in this country, so it takes a while to get all these things done prior to releasing a report. Now, I must also stress here that this report is based on facts available to us and this report is not to be used to apportion blame or liability. It's only to enhance safety in the aviation industry.
NANOL: The report into the Misima crash concluded that the weather was bad, there was water all over the runway making it very hard for the Cessna Citation plane to land, thus it skidded off the runway and crashed into trees and burst into flames. The plane was owned and operated as a SOS International Medivac plane by Australian, Les Wright, who also died in the crash.
His previous Australian company TransAir, which had gone into liquidation, had also operated a plane that crashed at Lockhart River in Australia's North Queensland state in 2005, killing 15 people.
In 2007, Australian Coroner, Michael Barnes, blamed pilot Brett Hotchin and airline TransAir for the Lockhart crash. The Coroner was critical of TransAir and its chief pilot, Les Wright for failing to adequately monitor the airline's pilots and ensure they were complying with company and CASA policies. Les Wright, moved to PNG after that crash.
PNG's Accident Investigations Commission CEO, David Inau, says TransAir were using a local operators license and they are no longer operating in PNG.