CAA will not investigate helicopter crash
Lessons can still be learnt from a fatal helicopter crash eight years ago, a retired Civil Aviation Authority investigator says, despite the watchdog saying it will not investigate the crash.
The wreckage of the Hughes 500 helicopter, which went missing in 2004, with pilot Campbell Montgomerie, 27, from Waikato, and his English girlfriend Hannah Rose Timings, 28, was found in Fiordland last week.
The pair have yet to be formally identified; this will be done through DNA.
Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) spokesman Mike Richards today announced the authority would not investigate the crash as "essentially nothing new has so far come to light".
“Therefore, the CAA does not consider that it can learn anything new, in the context of aviation safety, from an investigation of wreckage that is almost nine years old.
"Obviously, if new evidence does come to light that would give us a key safety learning for the aviation sector, then we would re-consider," Richards said.
“While we have requested photographs taken at the scene by the police and the potential recovery of the emergency locator transmitter, this information is intended for use to confirm the identity of the wreckage and compile a synopsis of events for recording in the internal data base.”
Richards also confirmed the CAA did not open a formal accident investigation in 2004.
“This was a result of the known circumstances about the event at the time., including the poor weather, mountainous terrain and the fact the helicopter could not be found.
"Although there was some data recorded in our system as an aircraft occurrence regarding: aircraft type missing, the general location and meteorological forecasts at the time, this was not progressed as an investigation," he said.
Retired CAA investigator Tom McCready criticised the authority for taking a narrow-minded approach to the cause of the crash.
"They haven't even turned up to the crash site. It's a bit disappointing. They haven't looked into much at all."
McCready said there were "other scenarios" aside from the weather and terrain that should be considered.
He said the engine could have failed, the pressure sensing lines could have cracked, or the engine compressor stalled, among many other possibilities.
"If you're a betting man it could've been the weather. But there's a whole raft of things it could have been. Do you know it wasn't one of these other things?"
McCready said in other fatal crashes he had investigated "other significant contributing factors" were uncovered. While these did not cause the crash, they provided "valuable lessons" for the aviation community, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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