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BREAKING UPDATE ATSB REPORT: Cockpit Fire Cause NOT Confirmed In Fatal Light Plane Crash in Kununurra

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#AceBreakingNews UPDATE: A preliminary report has found a cockpit fire caused a light plane to crash that killed a nurse in the Kimberley earlier this year.

A light plane at rest on tarmac beneath a clear sky.
The ATSB has issued a safety notice for Beechcraft Baron (B58) aircraft.(Supplied: WA Police)none

But the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s report released this morning did not determine what sparked the blaze, which downed one of the region’s regular health charter services.

The West Australian Country Health Service flight, operated by northern WA airline Aviair, took off from Broome on the morning of April 16 carrying two men — a 29-year-old pilot and the nurse in his 50s.

According to the report the pilot began having issues with instruments as he prepared to land at Kununurra’s East Kimberley Regional Airport.

The pilot could not put down the landing gear and described warning lights and sounds going off in an unusual fashion.

The pilot then smelt burning material and saw smoke coming from the left side of the instrument panel.

He raised the alarm as a fire broke out and tried to put out the blaze with an extinguisher, but the flames would not abate and the cabin filled with smoke, which cut off visibility.

The plane crashed 800 metres short of the runway in bushland near the Ord River.

The seriously injured pilot managed to free himself and the nurse from the wreckage, but the WACHS health worker later died.

An aerial map of East Kimberley Regional Airport showing where the plane crashed.
The plane crashed just short of the runway.(Supplied: ATSB)none

Safety notice issued

ATSB chief commissioner Angus Mitchell said the authority was still investigating what caused the fire.

In the meantime it has issued a safety notice for owners of Beechcraft Baron (B58) aircraft to note circumstances of the crash and thoroughly check wiring and a fuel line.

” It’s close to a lot of electrical equipment……. ” We’ve put out a safety advisory on this and that’s around the fuel line, which happens to be in these type of aircraft, which feed the heater,” Mr Mitchell said.

“So whilst we haven’t determined that’s one of the contributing factors, there’s similarities between this accident and another one we have investigated.”

In that 2014 incident, there was a cockpit fire during a flight from Darwin to Gove, but the pilot managed to extinguish the blaze.

An engineering inspection found electrical wiring had penetrated through the heater supply fuel line.

In the case of the Kununurra crash, the report found no evidence of pre-existing defects in the engines or flight control components that could have contributed.

Mr Mitchell said the final report into the crash could take a number of months.


#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Sept.22: 2022:

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