Air Niugini to explain crash in FSM

Boaters on Weno island in Chuuk, in the Federated States of Micronesia respond to the crash of Air Niugini Flight 73 earlier this morning in Chuuk. All 46 people aboard are safe, said airport Manager Jimmy Emilio. Picture: Courtesy of Bill Davis through PACNEWS

PORT MORESBY, 28 NOVEMBER 2018 (THE NATIONAL) – Air Niugini has been requested to explain how it will address a “safety deficiency” identified during an investigation into the crash of one of its Boeing 737-800 aircraft in September.

The “safety deficiency” relates to the information shown on the Safety on Board card on its Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

The 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 Sept 28 on a flight from Pohnpei.

The cause of the crash is yet to be determined. One passenger died and six were seriously injured.

Hubert Namani, the Chief Commissioner of the PNG Accident Investigation Commission (AIC), in a correspondence dated November 24 to the national airline company, stated that the “safety deficiency” related to the aircraft’s Safety on Board card which “incorrectly shows a path to the doors” used in such an emergency.

“The PNG Accident Investigation Commission (AIC) recommends that Air Niugini Limited should ensure that the Safety on Board card for the Boeing 737-700 and 737-800 fleet accurately show the exits to be used in a water-ditching accident, and the accurate depiction of which exits have life rafts deployed,” Namani said.

“The AIC requests that Air Niugini Limited note (the) recommendation and provide a response to the AIC within 90 days of the issue date, and explain (including with evidence) how Air Niugini Limited has addressed the safety deficiency identified in the safety recommendation.”

Namani said the investigation into the accident found that the aircraft (P2-PXE) was equipped with one life raft for deployment from the forward left door, one from the left over-wing exists, and one raft for deployment from the right over-wing exists.

The other Boeing 737-800 aircraft in the fleet (P2-PXC) has the same level of equipment.

The aircraft “impacted the water” about 460 metres short of the runway threshold during its approach to the runway at Chuuk international airport.

As the aircraft settled in the water, it turned clockwise through 210 degrees and drifted 140 metres south east of the runway.

The investigation into the accident was jointly conducted by FSM’s Department of Transportation, Communications and Infrastructure, the PNG AIC and United States National Safety Board.

Namani said the PNG AIC was conducting an exhaustive analysis of all the retrieved data from the various on-board recorders such as the cockpit voice recorder, the flight data recorder, the Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System and examining more broadly all the available evidence and the known circumstances leading to this accident.

A final report will be released by FSM authorities when completed.

“This is a very complex investigation,” he said.

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