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The ATSB has released a further Interim Factual Investigation Report into the Lockhart River accident on 7 May 2005 in which both pilots and all 13 passengers perished and says that it expects to complete its draft final report by the end of November.

This is the third factual report issued by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau since the tragic accident and, in accordance with international convention, it contains no analysis. The ATSB has previously issued a number of safety recommendations arising from the accident and others will be considered ahead of the final report if or as needed.

The ATSB is today also issuing research papers providing data on fatal accidents in Far North Queensland compared with other regions and on surveyed pilot perceptions of difficulties with the type of approach made in the bad weather of the accident flight.

This Interim Factual report also includes additional information relating to wreckage and the aircraft, the flight data recorder factual report, and a summary of survey and other research dealing with area navigation global satellite positioning system (RNAV (GNSS)) approaches.

The investigation is continuing and in addition to drafting of the final report - which will contain detailed analysis - will include further work on: the operator's management processes, standard operating procedures, flight crew training and checking, and document control; regulatory oversight of the operator's activities, including approvals and surveillance undertaken; the design and chart presentation of RNAV (GNSS) approaches; and desired action to enhance future safety.

The ATSB expects to complete a draft final report by the end of November 2006. To ensure factual accuracy and natural justice, directly involved parties in Australia and internationally will have 60 days to comment on this confidential draft. Contingent on the extent and timing of comments received, the ATSB plans to release its final report to the public in March 2007 after advance notice is given to the families of the deceased.

While the long time taken for the investigation is regretted, the Bureau seeks understanding on this because it is Australia's worst civil aviation accident since 1968 and, in addition to the destruction of the aircraft, the investigation team does not have the benefit of a cockpit voice recording, survivors, or witnesses. For the sake of those who lost their lives and their friends and loved ones, and in the interest of future safety, the ATSB wishes to undertake as thorough an investigation as possible in the circumstances.

Copies of the latest Interim factual Aviation Safety Investigation Report 200501977 can be downloaded from the website.

Media contact: 1800 020 616
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Last update 01 April 2011

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