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By Rocky Issou

The Acting Board Chairman of the PNG Accident Investigation Commission (AIC), Captain Aria Bouraga, has announced that the AIC has commenced an investigation into a serious incident involving a Fokker 70 aircraft that experienced cabin pressurisation event on descent into Jacksons Airport, Port Moresby earlier this week on Monday February 20, 2023 at about 4pm.

The aircraft was reportedly operating a scheduled domestic flight from Jacksons Airport, Port Moresby to Kagamuga Airport, Mt Hagen, Western Highlands Province when it conducted an air return back to Port Moresby due to weather conditions not being suitable for a landing in Mt Hagen. During descent into Port Moresby, the aircraft reportedly sustained a pressurization issue.

There were a total of 67 persons on board which included 2 infants. On disembarking the aircraft at Jacksons Airport, a passenger of the occurrence flight alerted Air Niugini Customer Service that a few passengers from the flight were bleeding from the ears and nose. On assessing the injured passengers, Air Niugini Customer Service then activated a response plan and had the injured passengers transported to Pacific International Hospital for further medical assessment.

It was reported that a total of 22 persons were injured; 7 persons had serious injuries and were admitted, 6 persons were under review, and 9 persons were discharged from the hospital.

“We have had 4 occurrences in this month alone and the AIC has been working around the clock to ensure that all accident site investigations are conducted fully and best practices for appropriate safety lessons are learned. I urge all operators to take proper precautions and ensure that appropriate safety standards are maintained.” Captain Bouraga said.

Captain Bouraga has stated that the AIC has maintained its compliance with its mandate and Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation for the conduct of investigations and will do its best to maintain

these standards and quality, considering the significant budget constraints for its operations. 

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