By HELEN TARAWA
AIR Niugini has replaced the Safety on Board card on its Boeing 737-700 and Boeing 737-800 aircraft as recommended by the PNG Accidents Investigations Commission.
The card was identified as a “safety deficiency” during investigations into the crash of one of the airline’s B737-800 aircraft in September because it “incorrectly shows a path to the doors” used in evacuation emergencies.
The commission, in a correspondence from Chief Commissioner Hubert Namani, pictured, to the airline dated November 24, recommended that the airline “ensure the Safety on Board card (on the two aircraft) show the exits to be used in water-ditching accident, and the accurate depiction of which exits have life rafts deployed”.
The AIC gave the airline 90 days to explain how it has addressed the “safety deficiency”.
Yesterday, Namani in a statement confirmed that the new cards had addressed the AIC’s safety concerns, “that if not rectified could have resulted in injury or loss of life in a water-ditching accident”.
One of the airline’s B737-800 aircraft was carrying 35 passengers and 12 crew members when it crashed into Chuuk Lagoon in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) at around 9.45am on September 28 on a flight from Pohnpei.
One passenger died and six were seriously injured.
Namani said the FSM investigator in charge requested that the AIC issue the safety recommendation.
He said the Safety on Board cards “now clearly depict the correct path to the door for raft deployment from door L1, and adds a footnote to the diagram on the card stating, ‘Note: Forward right exit alternatively may be used if forward left exit is unusable’.
“The card also has a ‘No bags’, ‘No shoes’ symbol in the ‘Upon Exiting’ section.
“That is aimed at ensuring passengers remove their shoes that could tear the life raft, and that they do not take their carry-on baggage during the evacuation, because carry-on bags are known to create evacuation path obstructions that could result in loss of life or serious injury.”
Namani said the “prompt and positive safety action taken by Air Niugini Limited will ensure passengers are better informed and prepared for a water-ditching emergency”.
“No one can become complacent, and passengers must listen carefully to cabin crew safety briefings and review the Safety on Board cards each time they fly, no matter how often they fly,” he said.
“We can never be too prepared.”
By HELEN TARAWA