Friday, August 20, 2010

Breakthrough in air crash investigations


THE Civil Aviation Safety Authority investigators (CASA) have finally made a breakthrough into the crash that killed pilot Christopher Kaines in the mountains of Myola, along the Kokoda Trail, on Aug 7, 2008.
Captain Christopher Kaines...his plane crash is shrouded in mystery
CASA has discovered that the Cessna 206 flown by Kaines – a very experienced pilot – was unregistered and had no certificate of airworthiness.
As well, it has been found that operator Joe Maule Rice, was conducting illegal charters without an air operator’s certificate.
Charges are expected to be laid soon against Rice in relation to the crash that killed Kaines, as well as several others including running an illegal flight training school at Six-Mile in Port Moresby, fraud and assault.
Rice, when contacted yesterday and asked to comment on the allegations, denied any knowledge of them, swore at and threatened this reporter and hung up.
There were several unanswered questions as to the flight plan –if any was given to CASA, the air worthiness of the Cessna, and why the operator disappeared since the death of Kaines.
Reporters probing the crash have since 2008 been hitting a brick wall at CASA when trying to get information on the crash.
A well-placed aviation source, however, has broken the silence in an exclusive interview with The National.
The source said Rice purchased the aeroplane from TropicAir on as-is-where-is condition. At the time, it was unregistered and had no certificate of airworthiness.
“It’s known that he was conducting illegal charters without an air operator’s certificate,” the source said.
Rice kept a low profile after the crash but then emerged from obscurity by setting up a flight school charging huge amounts of money for fees, when he was not known to be a pilot.
“Now, the bloke (Rice) is actually known to be conducting an illegal flight school without the appropriate licences or qualifications and is known to be charging large sums of money from young, aspiring pilots,” the source added.
Kaines, from Gassam village on Siassi Island, Morobe, is survived by four young children.
Widow Betty Kuyei surrounded by children Chris Kaines Jr, Emerald, Story and answer admire a newspaper picture of their father
They are son Chris Kaines Jr from first wife Betty Komes and daughters Emerald, Answer and Story from second wife Betty Kuyei.
They have, since the tragedy, been making emotional pleas to CASA to release details of the plane crash which killed their father.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Malum, I wrote an article about him a few years back before th crash. He flew once around Wawoi Guavi, from Kamusie to Panakawa and then Wawoi Falls.