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Statement on update: Essendon accident

Update of ATSB’s investigation into the collision with retail facility involving B200 King Air VH-ZCR at Essendon Airport, Victoria on 21 February 2017.

The ATSB has today released an update into the tragic accident involving a B200 King Air aircraft that collided with a retail facility at Essendon Airport on 21 February this year. Sadly all four passengers and the pilot died in the accident.

ATSB Chief Commissioner Greg Hood said ATSB investigators have done an extensive amount of work to date.

“Investigators have gathered and assessed a large volume of evidence such as CCTV footage and witness statements. The team has also inspected the engines in close consultation with the manufacturer,” Mr Hood said.

“The aircraft’s fire-damaged CVR was retrieved and transported to the ATSB’s technical facilities in Canberra for examination and download.

“While the CVR was successfully downloaded, no audio from the accident flight was recorded. All the recovered audio was from a previous flight on 3 January 2017. The ATSB is examining the reasons for this.”

Mr Hood said that while the team is diligently assessing the physical and digital evidence, the considerable damage to the aircraft is presenting challenges.

“The extensive damage caused by the collision and post-impact fire has meant investigators are yet to determine a clear picture of the causal factors behind the accident and loss of life,” Mr Hood said.

“I offer my deepest sympathies to the families and loved ones of those on board the aircraft. Every effort is being made to determine the cause of this tragic accident.”

This update does not contain findings. The ATSB will present the findings of its investigation in the final report, due out in around 12 months. Further updates will be provided if significant information comes to hand.

If the ATSB identifies any safety issues during the course of the investigation, it will immediately bring them to the attention of relevant operators and authorities for safety action.

Read the Preliminary report AO-2017-024.

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Last update 29 March 2017