Thursday, August 12, 2010

Kokoda crash report set for November

THE families of the 13 people who died in the Kokoda plane crash last year have been told the report into the investigation should be available to them by November, The National reports.

Some relatives of the nine Australians who died in the Airlines PNG Twin Otter crash travelled to Kokoda yesterday for the first anniversary of the crash. They were accompanied to the site by Community Development Minister Dame Carol Kidu.

PNG’s Accident Investigation Commission said it wanted to assure families that the report was at an advanced stage.

But commission chairman Paulus Dowa said it might not answer the families’ questions and a further inquiry could be called for.

“The company, the relatives, they will also want to dispute the findings of the commission,” he added.

“It is like if a policeman does a report and a witness comes in and says, ‘oh no, I do not agree with the report’, and then they will be required to give their own evidence in other avenues like the court of law or coronial inquest.”

The authority had also made preliminary recommendations about voice recorders and warning systems.

Airlines PNG said its fleet of Twin Otter was undergoing a A$6 million upgrade.

Australian minister for foreign affairs and trade Stephen Smith yesterday extended his condolences to the family and relatives of the 13 who died.

“The anniversary will be a difficult time for the families and partners of those who died. Our thoughts are with them.

“The fact that these nine Australians were looking forward to walking the Kokoda Track, an iconic area of national significance, has made their loss all the more difficult,” the minister said in a statement.

He said Australia was looking forward to the completion of investigations into the crash.

On Aug 11 last year, a Twin Otter plane, captained by Jenny Moala, crashed in Kokoda killing 13 people, including nine Australians who were planning to walk the famous track.



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