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Lending a hand overseas

By Martin Dolan, Chief CommissionerMartin Dolan

When a Fokker 100 jet crashed in Myanmar late last year, tragically killing two and injuring more than 30 people, Myanmar authorities were keen to discover what happened to prevent a similar accident from happening again. To assist with technical aspects of their investigation, Myanmar investigators asked the ATSB to lend a hand.

ATSB’s assistance involved our investigators downloading and decoding data from the aircraft’s flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder (commonly known as ‘black boxes’) at our facilities in Canberra. The valuable information retrieved by the ATSB is now being used by Myanmar investigators in their ongoing investigation.

I’m extremely proud of the capabilities and skills of our Australian investigators and the high regard with which they’re held overseas.

The Myanmar accident is one in a number of investigations where the ATSB has provided support to our regional neighbours. Under international protocols and Australian Government policy, we’ve assisted many countries—including New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and several other Pacific Island countries—with their investigations. 

And it’s not just aviation accidents where we’ve lent a hand. Following last year’s tragic sinking of the passenger ferry Rabaul Queen in PNG, the PNG government requested the ATSB’s assistance with the on-site investigation. In response, we sent two senior investigators to work with local authorities over several months. The PNG Commission of Inquiry has released a report outlining proposals to prevent an occurrence of a similar tragedy.  

The ATSB has established an international reputation for conducting high-quality transport safety investigations. And it’s because of this reputation that countries are continuing to seek our expertise. 

Of course this is a two-way street. Singapore, Indonesia and New Zealand among others have supported our investigations as have our North American and European colleagues. We are grateful for their help.

Written by Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner at 12:30 PM


martin said...

Has there been a report published on the Kokoda Valley Twin Otter accident? How does one access png caa reports (if they make any! ?)

March 28, 2013 20:31
Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner (author) said...

The ATSB appointed an Accredited Representative and a number of adviser to assist the Papua New Guinea Accident Investigation Commission (AIC) with its investigation into that accident. You can find the final report on our website at www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2009/aair/ae-2009-050.aspx. If you’re interested in other AIC investigations, there are contact details at the bottom of that page.

April 2, 2013 11:49
Alok Rajvanshi said...

Dear Martin,

Who investigates the sinking or damage to the refugee boats bound for Australia? Does ATSB get involved in any way?

March 28, 2013 21:58
Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner (author) said...

The ATSB’s focus and limited marine investigation resources are directed to the investigation of accidents and incidents involving commercial trading ships.  These ships are subject to comprehensive international safety and pollution prevention regulatory regimes and Australia, as a signatory to the relevant international conventions, has an obligation to investigate serious occurrences involving these vessels as either the Flag State, (in the case of Australian registered ships), or Coastal State, (in the case of foreign registered ships in our waters). Accidents involving refugee boats, while often tragic, occur in circumstances where the vessels are engaged in an illegal activity and are not subject to any safety regime or standards at the peril of their passengers and crew. These accidents are investigated by law enforcement and regulatory authorities including the police, the Customs and Border Protection Service and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

April 2, 2013 15:45
New Home Builders Perth said...

The ATSB does a fantastic job with their investigations and often does not receive the credit it so thoroughly deserves. Our transportation safety should be paramount and therefore funding from the government needs to be substantial.

April 9, 2013 19:16