I wish to respectfully set down a range of factors in the recent air crash at Kokoda.
It may be several weeks/months before an official finding is made.
In the meantime, there are inescapable facts that have to be addressed.
The pilot radioed control that she was aborting the landing and climbing.
Then we find that the aircraft is crashed up Eora Creek gorge opposite Isurava.
By what mischance did that happen?
There are possible conclusions that can be drawn and based on the fact that there was fog.
Those of us who trek Kokoda know that the fog comes up the Eora Creek gorge in the afternoons and can stay until late morning.
Fog can cover the Kokoda plateau including the airstrip in a thick blanket.
It could be that the pilot could not find the airstrip in the low blanket of fog.
She may have aborted having mistaken the airstrip or approached the strip for landing some distance down the runway.
Or she could have mistaken the strip.
In the fog, perhaps the road outside the Kokoda hospital could be mistaken for the strip.
When she aborted, she climbed to get out of the fog.
But it may have been high fog/drizzling cloud that covered the opening to the Eora Creek gorge.
She may have approached the gorge too close to complete the circuit.
Perhaps she should have circled to the left around the Oivi-Gorari area.
Once she flew into the gorge, fate of the aircraft was sealed.
There should be markers on the airstrip. But in fog, these may be of little use.
Those who trek will undoubtedly have the same basic views as expressed here.
This is a terrible accident that we all wish never had happened.