Released: 26 December 2022

The following statement can be attributed to ATSB Chief Commissioner Angus Mitchell:

"The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has commenced an investigation into a collision with terrain involving a Cessna 210N single-engine light aircraft near Bulman, Northern Territory about 240 km north-east of Katherine.

"The flight, with a pilot and one passenger on board, was reported missing to authorities after the aircraft failed to arrive at its Katherine destination on Christmas Eve.

"A search, coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, located the aircraft in the afternoon on Christmas Day with a debris field scattered over a large distance. Both occupants were confirmed deceased by Northern Territory Police.

"A team of transport safety investigators from the ATSB's Brisbane and Canberra offices are preparing to deploy to the accident site where they will commence the on-site phase of the investigation.

"Given the remote location, the ATSB is liaising with Northern Territory Police to determine the best way for investigators to access the accident site over the coming days.

"The initial ATSB safety investigation will include an examination of the wreckage, assessment of aircraft and pilot records, forecast and actual weather information, and any available recorded data.

"The ATSB’s evidence collection will define the size and scope of the investigation and determine the expected timeframe for the completion of a final report.

"A report will be published at the completion of the investigation. However, should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the ATSB will immediately notify relevant parties."

// Ends

NOTE: The ATSB will not be providing any further statements in relation to this accident until the release of the preliminary report in about 6 - 8 weeks time.

Map of Northern Australia.

Background: The ATSB, Australia’s national transport safety investigator, conducts 'no blame' aviation, rail and marine transport safety investigations to help prevent the occurrence of similar future accidents.

The ATSB does not investigate for the purpose of taking administrative, regulatory or criminal action. Details on the ATSB’s investigation process can be found here: www.atsb.gov.au/about_atsb/investigation-process

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