AIC to probe plane crash at Kikori

National, Normal


THE Accident Investigation Commission (AIC) of the Transport Department is looking into Monday’s incident in which a Twin Otter aircraft, on a commercial run for Airlines PNG, could not take off and crashed into a nearby garden at the Kikori airstrip, Gulf province.
Passengers on board escaped unhurt, but as a normal procedure, the AIC was informed and will conduct an investigation into it.
Aviation Safety Management chief executive officer Wilson Sagati confirmed this.
Mr Sagati did not reveal any other information nor any preliminary findings based on the pilot’s report and said the matter was now with the AIC.
Attempts to contact Transport Secretary Henry Parakei and Minister Don Polye for updates were in vain as telephone calls were not answered and emails were not replied to.
Airlines PNG also refused to comment saying the matter was with the appropriate authorities to comment on.
An industry source  said the AIC must ensure full investigation is conducted and the report disclosed.
“This near-miss at Kikori reinforces the need for the AIC to investigate promptly and find out the root causes in order to find ways to improve airline safety,” he said.
He raised this concern as no word had come about regarding last December’s tragedy in Morobe where a family of six was killed after a Cessna owned by Kiunga Aviation crashed into the mountains of Boana.
He also said a final report was yet to be released on the ill-fated Airlines PNG Twin Otter flight that crashed into the mountains of Kokoda in Oro province last Aug 11, killing 13.
“Aviation safety and any improvement can only be achieved meaningfully from the findings of the investigations … how long will it take before we get answers?” the source asked.
The AIC  was set up in 2008 to probe aircraft accidents and crashes and make recommendations for improvements on air safety.
Mr Polye had said then that there were more than 10 air accident reports that needed to be investigated by the new body.
Since then, although much has been said and money pumped into the investigations, no firm report has surfaced, especially from the recent tragedies.
“Unless results come from the investigations, air safety in PNG will remain stagnant and there will be no improvement done,” the source said.