Chief Commissioner of PNG Accident Investigation Commission (AIC), Mr. Hubert Namani has announced of an investigation into a helicopter accident that occurred yesterday in Gobo, Jiwaka Province.
Namani explained that “on 15th May 2021 at around 11:30am, a MIL MI8 helicopter registered P2-MHM, owned by Captston Aviation PTE Ltd. and operated by Hevilift Aviation Ltd., took-off from Gobo, Jiwaka Province, in a cargo flight to Mount Hagen, Western Highlands Province.
“Reportedly, after vertical take-off to hover, there was a low rotor RPM indication, causing the flightcrew to bring the helicopter back to the ground. Upon contact with the ground, there would have been a loss of control of the helicopter, which subsequently rolled over, impacting its tail boom and main rotor blades with the ground. The helicopter came to rest in the upside-down position.”
There were four people onboard, two flight crew, one flight engineer and one load master. One of the occupants is reported to have suffered minor injuries while the rest appeared to be okay.
The helicopter was destroyed as a result of the forces of impact in the context of the accident.
“The AIC became aware of the accident less than one hour after it occurred and immediately commenced an investigation under the Civil Aviation Act 2000 (as amended) and aligned with Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation.
As part of AIC initial investigation activities, a team of investigators has been dispatched to the accident site to perform on-site technical examinations and information gathering. Further stages of the investigation will include the collection of evidence and analysis of information in areas related to flight operations, human performance, aircraft maintenance, environmental conditions, organisational aspects and other areas, to the extent relevant for the improvement of aviation safety,” said Namani.
Investigation of accidents and serious incidents with the sole objective of improving aviation safety is an international obligation for PNG as a State contracting to the Convention on International Civil Aviation.
The Convention, its Annexes and the guidance of the International Civil Aviation Organization set the International Standards that the AIC, on behalf of PNG, should meet or exceed when conducting an aviation safety investigation.
The AIC as a State agency with complete independence from other State authorities including CASA PNG, aviation service providers including National Airport Corporation (NAC) and Niusky Pacific Limited (formerly PNG Air Services Limited) and aviation stakeholders.
The Civil Aviation Act 2000 (as amended) mandates the AIC to conduct investigations with the sole purpose of improving safety in the aviation system and without apportioning blame or liability.