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November 18th marks eighth year of #pelair problems

On November 18th 2009, and a Westwind became a short term floating wreck at Norfolk Island.

In 3-metre seas, in a dark part of the Pacific Ocean, six individuals combined to survive a ditching as the jet had run out of fuel and despite a number of attempts to land at the Norfolk Island strip, never became visual to effect a landing.

The unknowing participants on the medivac flight from Samoa to Melbourne, were the patient [who died in Melbourne almost two years ago], the nurse Karen Casey, the Doctor and the patients husband.

Two pilots were sent on the mission, with, as it turns out, little support from the owner and operator – Pelair a subsidiary of REX Aviation.

Wikipedia entry contains further details:

The 2009 Pel-Air Westwind ditching, Norfolk Island ditching or CareFlight ditching was an aircraft accident on 18 November 2009 near Norfolk Island, Australia. A Westwind II jet operated by Pel-Air was conducting an air ambulance flight for CareFlight International when it was forced to ditch after being unable to land in bad weather and not having sufficient fuel to divert to an alternate destination.

The official accident report issued two and half years later by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) attracted wide criticism, and resulted in an Australian Senate Enquiry that found both the ATSB and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) had failed to carry out their responsibilities with respect to the accident investigation.

Some markers of the #PelAir ditching:

  1. Chambers report  – late 2009, early 2010;
  2. ATSB report [other contemporary reports]
  3. September 2012 – Senate inquiry announced
  4. May 2013 – Senate Report brought down
  5. May 2014 – ASRR investigation by David Forsyth
  6. Canadian audit of #atsb
  7. #casa coverups
  8. December 2014 – Interference by Department of Infrastructure
  9. Lack of change in regulator – #casa
  10. Lack of change in investigator – #atsb
  11. 18th February 2015 –Announcement of re-investigation of #pelair
  12. 27th February 2015 – Bernie Curall [the patient] death
  13. July 2015 – Tender for recovery of Westwind CVR and CVR
  14. November 2016 – 300 page #atsb report still not available
  15. Was #icao misled over #pelair??
  16. Future of #aviation

Parallel Universes – #PelAir and #Mildura

And there is a history:

Lockhart River 10 years on

After the landing on water, a series of issues arose, which were to continue from that time until today and the final release of the #atsb report, which will be after the appeal by the insurance company against giving the seriously injured nurse – Karen Casey.


The #ASRR report by David Forsyth:

This comes out throughout the ASRR report and can be best described as a disconnect of the regulator and the investigator with the industry.

And in the executive summary, which was a serious condemnation of both #casa and #atsb has been “pushed aside” by both organisations.

It is time to stop, get rid of the dreadful mess of regulations made by #casa and immediately use the #US-FAR’s

There is a summary of a range of the papers, reports and television reports surrounding the #pelair ditching and the uncovered mess.

Final Report – PelAir

And a note by the respected Ben Sandilands:

The re-opened investigation raises additional questions, although it remains to be seen if the Government or Opposition has the intestinal fortitude to pursue all of them.

In terms of public expenditure, CASA is a very expensive federal authority. In relation to the oversight of air operators, the only conclusion that can be made from the Pel-Air fiasco is that it squandered millions of dollars failing to perform its most basic and important duties to the Australian public and the industry.

How the mess that is CASA and the ATSB today can be cleaned up, and genuine reform achieved, remains a questions that demands actual results, not more weasal words from both sides of politics.

Pel-Air could yet become the catalyst for this to happen.


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