The broken Pel-Air jet on the sea floor near Norfolk Island

The minister responsible for aviation, Warren Truss, has called for a new look at the Pel-Air crash, in which a Westwind corporate jet flying a medical charter, was ditched off Norfolk Island in November, 2009.

The conduct, integrity and competency of the the investigating agency, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, and the regulator, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, has been under sustained criticism ever since.

In a statement to federal parliament, Mr Truss, who is deputy Prime Minister, said  a review of the ATSB’s investigation of the accident by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada  found “there were errors made”.

That TSBC report was in fact very detailed in its critical appraisal of the Australian safety investigators inquiry into the crash, setting out the information it failed to gather or consider, as well as the turmoil within its investigations team and issues with its relationship with CASA, the air safety regulator.

Mr Truss said “I am concerned that the TSB report raises some concerns about the application of ATSB methodologies in the investigation into the ditching of a Pel-Air aircraft off Norfolk Island in 2009.

“As a consequence, I have asked the ATSB Commission to give serious consideration to reopening the investigation.

“I have asked that the fresh review of the Pel-Air accident should take into account the findings of the TSB’s report.”

The following post will among other things look at the consequences that might follow the Minister’s initiative as well as the opportunity it presents for the executive branch of government to assert its authority over the administrative branch.

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