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#atsb preliminary report into B200 Essendon crash released

#atsb preliminary report into B200 Essendon crash released today.

SMH report below.

A lot of work yet to determine the causal links in this accident.

Earlier reprot on Essendon accident

No engine failure on Essendon crash plane before impact: investigators

 Tom Cowie

  • Tom Cowie
    Both engines on a light plane that crashed into an Essendon shopping centre killing all five people on board appeared to have been working before impact, a crash report has found.

Investigators from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau have been sifting through the wreckage of the Beechcraft King Air B200, which crashed shortly after take-off at Essendon Airport on February 21.


Investigators at the site of the Essendon plane crash. Photo: Joe Armao

Pilot Max Quartermain, 63, made seven mayday calls before the crash, according to air traffic control records. The doomed flight lasted just nine seconds.

The plane was bound for King Island for a golf trip when it smashed into the roof of the DFO shopping centre next to the Tullamarine Freeway. Four American passengers on board were also killed.


Aircraft track from Airservices Australia data.Aircraft track from Airservices Australia data. Photo: ATSB

A preliminary report released on Wednesday found that the cores of both the plane’s engines had been rotating before the crash and that there was no evidence of pre-impact failure of their internal components.

“On-site examination of the wreckage did not identify any pre-existing faults with the aircraft that could have contributed to the accident,” the report said.

The engines were also removed from the scene where they were disassembled and examined at a secure facility with the assistance of the engine manufacturer.

At the time of the crash, police suspected that “catastrophic engine failure” was the cause of the disaster. Mr Quartermain was being investigated over a “near collision” with another plane on Mount Hotham in September 2015.



The plane’s propellers were also inspected and showed evidence of rotation, the safety bureau said.

The components have been retained for further testing.



The plane’s cockpit voice recorder, which could have held vital clues to the crash, was recovered, but it had not recorded the flight.

The safety bureau said it was investigating the reasons for the recording failure.



Investigation of air traffic control radio traffic revealed Mr Quartermain’s multiple mayday calls but no other information about the nature of the emergency was broadcast.

In trying to piece together the circumstances of the crash, investigators also detailed the plane’s last movements moments before impact.

Witnesses familiar with the aircraft told investigators that the plane’s take-off along the runway was longer than normal. When it became airborne it was observed to twist left.

Data indicated the aircraft reached approximately 160 ft (49 metres) above the ground as it tracked left before hitting the shopping centre.

ATSB chief commissioner Greg Hood said that while investigators were diligently assessing the physical and digital evidence, the considerable damage to the aircraft was presenting challenges.

“The extensive damage caused by the collision and post-impact fire has meant investigators are yet to determine a clear picture of the causal factors behind the accident and loss of life,” he said.

“I offer my deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those on board the aircraft. Every effort is being made to determine the cause of this tragic accident.”

The investigation will continue, focusing on a number of factors, including the pilot’s medical and flight history, a review of the building’s approval process, and the aircraft’s maintenance and operational records.

The final report is due in February 2018.

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