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Report on plane crash which claimed three lives finds irregularities in the operation of the aircraft

File picture.

File picture.

Published Jan 25, 2022


Pretoria - The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has released a report regarding the investigation accident of Cessna ZS-CAR aircraft crash, that claimed the lives of three crew members, in January 2020.

The investigation was conducted by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) of Ethiopia, after families of the deceased expressed discomfort with the initial investigation, which was conducted by the Accident and Incident Investigation Division (AIID).

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The report by Ethiopian investigators found a host of irregularities in the operation of the aircraft, such as the aircraft’s certificate of airworthiness being invalid at the time of the accident due to the annual inspection not being concluded

The investigation also revealed that there was not sufficient graded evidence that the pilot-in-command performed the mandatory unusual altitude recovery training on a simulator.

The report also mentioned that:

* The Flight Inspection Unit (FIU) didn't not have a compliance officer and that was in contravention of Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR).

* The aircraft was not equipped with Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and was unable to record Terrain Avoidance Warning System (TAWS) during impact to terrain and other necessary communication between crew.

* The Flight Data Recorder (FDR) recording capacity was limited by the aircraft system and was not fit to record all required parameters for the aircraft accident.

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* The were was also irregularities in assigning the pilot-in-command to the flight.

On board, at the time of the crash, were three SACAA employees – Captain Thabiso Collins Tolo, 49; First Officer Tebogo Caroline Lekalakala, 33; and Flight Inspector Gugu Comfort Mnguni, 36.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said he met with the families of the deceased on Sunday and handed them the final report.

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“I extended my apologies to the families for the delay in finalising the report, which process was impacted by the Covid-19 restrictions,” Mbalula said.

Those who choose to appeal, have 60 days from the release date of the report to do so.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has indicated that it wants the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to inspect SACAA and SA airports, as a matter of urgency.

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The party said it wants all the documents of the report to be released as page 56, which contains paragraphs 19 to 30 of the conclusions, which were omitted from the report.