By Fabian Hakalits – EM TV News, Port Moresby
Civil Aviation Minister, Davis Steven, has expressed sorrow for the tragic plane crash and lives lost in Western province.
“I confirm that official investigation into the cause(s) of the accident is underway. This tedious, challenging and often protracted task will ultimately help us understand the causes of the accident.
“I reiterate that the said investigation does not address culpability; the question of who is to blame. That is outside the legal scope of the inquiry conducted by Accident Investigation Commission of PNG,” he said.
Minister Steven said that the final report is essential in the interest of persons and entities affected by the air accident. Government will use the findings and recommendations to continue the effort to mitigate risks and improve and enhance safety in our civil aviation system. PNG is also required to report to international aviation bodies on such aviation related investigations.
“It is therefore in the national interest and also for the sake of persons directly or indirectly affected that the independent investigation in this case be comprehensive and clear in its findings.
“As much as we all want an expeditious conclusion to the investigation, we cannot sacrifice credibility and quality of this investigation. I ask for understanding considering the challenging work involved, the legal implications and significance of the outcomes for everyone concerned,” Steven said.
He added that funding is required from central agencies for the PNG Accident Investigation Commission to conduct investigations.
“In the circumstances I appeal for careful reporting. Our aviation laws only permit PNG Accident Investigation Commission and Civil Aviation Safety Authority to investigate and to release reports on air accidents and incidents.
“Misleading and pre-emptive reporting or commentary on matters subject of the investigations may have serious legal consequences. We can avoid undesirable outcomes by contacting AIC on updates or for any queries,” the Minister’said.
He called for cooperation from all authorities including district and local leaders.
The Minister’said it is most unfortunate that another tragedy, and the painful loss of lives serves to remind government and industry to work towards a strong safety culture.
“To be relentless in our efforts to mitigate conceivable risks and enhance safety standards in our air transport system,” he said.
The sad truth is that’significant numbers of our people in rural and remote communities rely on the government to provide safe and affordable air transportation each day.