Full-time aviation search and rescue centre eyed

National

PAPUA New Guinea is to have a 24/7 aviation search and rescue centre under the PNG Air Services Ltd.
It will have fulltime staff for rescue operations and maintained at international standards to address safety concerns, PNG Accident Investigation Commission (AIC) chief commissioner Hubert Namani said.
The centre is a result of investigations into last year’s fatal crash of a Britten Norman Islander on the rugged mountainous terrain of the Sarawaget Range in Morobe. Australian pilot David Tong was killed.
AIC issued a safety recommendation addressed to Minister for Civil Aviation Alfred Manase.
Namani said the AIC initial investigation found there was no search and rescue coordination structure or operation procedures in PNG in accordance with PNG’s obligations to meet the international standards.
“The AIC recommended that the Minister for Civil Aviation, in compliance with Sections 8A and 8B of the Civil Aviation Act, should ensure that a rescue coordination centre (RCC) is established, maintained, and operated to co-ordinate and conduct aviation search and rescue operations.”
Namani said Manase issued directions to PNG Air Services Ltd to operate and maintain the PNG Search and Rescue Coordination Centre along with procedures and policies without delay.
The centre and operation are to be a standalone unit independent of all other air traffic services, staffed 24/7 by a dedicated team of trained and qualified personnel to coordinate and conduct aviation search and rescue operations.
Namani said: “In compliance with the minister’s directives in any future AIC investigations involving a requirement for search and rescue that AIC will assess the effectiveness of the operation of the PNG Air Services Limited RCC and its compliance with ICAO Annex 12.”

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