A new theory into August Kokoda plane crash

National, Normal

INVESTIGATORS are exploring a new theory on the cause of August’s Kokoda plane crash, which killed all 13 onboard, as families of the victims wait for answers.
Fresh evidence has emerged about the likely flight path being flown by the aircraft moments before it slammed nose-first into a mountainside near Kokoda airstrip.
Nine Australians – off to trek the Kokoda Track –  were among those killed in the tragedy as the plane attempted to land on the bush airstrip in “significant cloud” and “severe” thunderstorm turbulence weather.
A preliminary report released a month later found out that the ill-fated flight CG4684 was “heading away” from the airstrip when it crashed, cutting a 100m swath in the heavily-timbered ridge.
A team of Australian Transport Safety Bureau officers are preparing to fly here next month for a four-week stint, sifting through the crash site, wreckage and forensic evidence.
Kokoda crash widow Laurie Gracie, who lost her Queensland builder husband Keith, in the disaster, said investigators had told her they were probing an “alternative theory” on the flight route and approach to the airstrip.
She said that officers were unable to elaborate on the new theory including whether the plane was circling to land or if the flight had been aborted.
“They’ve taken the plane apart, and are looking at everything thoroughly to come up with the cause,” Mrs Gracie said .
“Until they’ve got all the evidence, they can’t tell us exactly what happened.”
On Aug 11, the crew of the ill-fated De Haviland Twin Otter, captain Jannie Moala and first officer Royden Soauka, reported at 11.10am that they were at 9,000ft and on descent to Kokoda via the Kokoda Gap.
That was the last communication call from the Twin Otter as there was no mayday call and four minutes later, they did not respond to radio transmissions.
The interim report said the aircraft was flying level and was likely under control when it smashed into the heavily-timbered ridge at 5,774ft above sea level.
Accident investigation commission chief William Vate said the investigation was ongoing.
“All findings will remain confidential until the report is completed and formally released by the minister responsible for civil aviation,” he said. – Couriermail.com. au