A reader has sent us this link to a YouTube of the recovery late last year of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from the sea floor wreckage of the Pel-Air Westwind jet that was ditched near Norfolk Island in November 2009.
It’s a reminder that the redone report into this accident is due for release some time this quarter.
The report is being redone because the ATSB grossly mismanaged the original investigation into the accident involving a medical transfer flight from Apia to Melbourne which one dark and stormy night was intended to refuel at the island, but without enough fuel to fly anywhere else, was ditched when poor weather prevented it from landing.
It is shameful that Australia’s supposedly independent and professional transport safety investigator could be caught out by a Senate inquiry as having severely mishandling its original investigation.
It is also cause to reflect on the inability of successive ministers responsible for Infrastructure to be able to give, in this instance at least, effective care and attention to aviation in this country. There are few precedents in the records for a national air safety regulator to be so totally discredited for its handling of an air crash inquiry as to have to withdraw its original report and do the job again, properly.
It doesn’t matter when the ATSB got part of the original investigation or not. Its procedures were unfair and incomplete and involved the suppression of a damning internal document that found that CASA, the safety regulator, could have prevented the crash had it not failed to adequately oversight the Westwind jet operations of Pel-Air.
The YouTube itself is only partly devoted to the raising of the aft section of the jet from a depth of 44 metres and extracting the data boxes. It is a pleasant travelogue.
The most recent update on the re-opened investigation can be read at this link. It is import to then click on the tab marked re-opened, to get a much fuller picture of this saga.