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On 14 January 1994 at 0114, Aero Commander 690 aircraft VH-BSS struck the sea while being radar vectored to intercept the Instrument Landing System approach to runway 34 at Sydney (Kingsford-Smith) Airport, NSW. The last recorded position of the aircraft was about 10 miles to the south-east of the airport. At the time of the accident the aircraft was being operated as a cargo charter flight from Canberra to Sydney in accordance with the Instrument Flight Rules. The body of the pilot who was the sole occupant of the aircraft was never recovered. Although wreckage identified as part of the aircraft was located on the seabed shortly after the accident, salvage action was not initially undertaken. This decision was taken after consideration of the known circumstances of the occurrence and of the costs of salvage versus the potential safety benefit that might be gained from examination of the wreckage.

About 18 months after the accident, the wing and tail sections of the aircraft were recovered from the sea by fishermen. As a result, a detailed examination of that wreckage was carried out to assess the validity of the Bureau's original analysis that the airworthiness of the aircraft was unlikely to have been a factor in this accident. No evidence was found of any defect which may have affected the normal operation of the aircraft.

The aircraft descended below the altitude it had been cleared to by air traffic control. From the evidence available it was determined that the circumstances of this accident were consistent with controlled flight into the sea.

No safety recommendations resulted from this investigation.

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[ Download PDF: 344KB]
General details
Date: 14 January 1994 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 0114 hours ESuT  
Location   (show map):18 km SSE Sydney Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: New South Wales Occurrence type: Collision with terrain 
Release date: 27 April 1996 Occurrence class: Operational 
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Accident 
 Highest injury level: Fatal 
Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer: Aero Commander 
Aircraft model: 690 
Aircraft registration: VH-BSS 
Serial number: 11044 
Type of operation: Charter 
Damage to aircraft: Destroyed 
Departure point:Canberra, ACT
Departure time:0037 hours ESuT
Destination:Sydney, ACT
Crew details
RoleClass of licenceHours on typeHours total
Fatal: 1001
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Last update 13 May 2014