The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is Australia’s national transport safety investigator. When things go wrong in transport safety, we find out what happened so it doesn’t happen again. We don’t investigate to lay blame but to improve safety.

Making safe transport safer

The ATSB’s accident investigation role is a fundamental part of Australia’s transport safety framework. 

Equally important is the information we hold on safety related events. We use that information to identify safety issues and trends. 

These issues and trends—and what we find from our investigations—are used to educate industry and promote positive safety action.

The goal is always improved safety. 

When things go wrong in transport safety, the ATSB finds out what happened so it doesn’t happen again.

The ATSB does not investigate to lay blame but to improve safety.

Where the ATSB fits

The ATSB works with operators and regulators to ensure safe transport for the travelling public and industry participants. 

In the overall system of transport safety, operators manage their safety risk and regulators ensure that safety risk is managed well. The ATSB steps in when things go wrong to see if changes need to be made to the overall system of safety. 


The ATSB is responsible for the independent investigation of accidents and incidents involving civil aircraft in Australia. Our primary focus for investigations is on fare-paying passenger operations. However, all accidents and incidents related to flight safety in Australia or involving Australian registered aircraft overseas must be reported to the ATSB. While the ATSB does not investigate all of these, we still need to be notified so that the data can be recorded for future safety research and analysis. 

Please call the toll-free number 1800 011 034 for advice on reporting requirements or visit 

Australia is a member of the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization, which is made up of 190 countries. The ATSB has frequently assisted with international investigations, including through the analysis of flight and cockpit voice recorder (‘black box’) data. 


Marine transport accounts for the vast majority of imports and exports of cargo in and out of Australia, and also plays a significant role through coastal trade. Cruise shipping is also a growth industry.

The ATSB conducts marine investigations into accidents and serious incidents involving Australian registered ships anywhere in the world, foreign flag ships within Australian waters, or where evidence relating to an accident involving ships is found in Australia. Accidents and serious incidents must be reported as soon as practicable to the ATSB. Often such a report will be made through the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. If you wish to report a marine accident or incident, you may contact the Australian Search and Rescue (AusSAR) on 1800 641 792 or the ATSB on 1800 011 034.

Australia is also a council member of the International Maritime Organization, and actively participates in its forums on accident investigations in the interests of making global improvements to shipping safety.


Rail is a vital part of the nation’s transport infrastructure, moving volumes of people every day in Australia’s major cities and providing an important alternative to road transport for the country’s increasing freight distribution. 

The ATSB conducts rail investigations into accidents and serious incidents involving passenger and freight rail operators. The ATSB has partnered with New South Wales and Victorian investigation agencies to deliver rail investigations in those States.

For most operations, accidents and serious incidents (Category A occurrences) must be reported as soon as practicable to the ATSB. Please call the toll-free number 1800 011 034 to notify the ATSB of such accidents or incidents. Other reporting requirements are fulfilled by contacting the Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator.

The ATSB helps make significant improvements in rail safety through its investigations. We widely disseminate our findings through the public release of our reports, making our safety findings accessible to all.


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