NEWS

DQ-HPT Crash: Search Operations Called Off

Even though formal search operations will cease, other aspects of the crash will continue to be investigated and findings from this work will be included in the final air crash investigation report which will be submitted to the government of Fiji.
16 Aug 2019 17:34
DQ-HPT Crash: Search Operations Called Off
Investigator In Charge Andrew McGregor last week in Natewa.

Search operations has been discontinued for the wreckage of the Robinson 44 helicopter.

 Investigator In Charge Andrew McGregor said there has been several challenges.

“These include large areas of sunken reef on the Western side of Natewa bay which pose significant risks to sea craft and specialist sonar equipment; the depth of channels which are near the limit of diver capability together with the strong currents at these locations; and the likelihood that the helicopter broke up on impact. In that case it is likely that the strong sea currents have transported the helicopter sections several miles from the initial point of impact, making discovery of significant wreckage even with substantially greater search resources, unlikely.  For these reasons all those involved in leading the search operations have decided to call off the search.

“Despite the fact that significant wreckage has not been found, many pieces of the helicopter such as sections of Aluminium skin, seat squabs, personal effects and the body of one of the passengers has been found along several miles of the Western coast of Natewa bay. However we regret to advise that neither the pilot nor the remaining passenger have been found.”

Mr McGregor said people had given their time freely to help with the search.

“There has been a considerable team effort between volunteer divers, boat owners, the Police, Navy, Rescue Co-ordination Centre (RCC), the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji (CAAF), Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), other government departments and local villagers, all of which has been very helpful.

“Even though formal search operations will cease, other aspects of the crash will continue to be investigated and findings from this work will be included in the final air crash investigation report which will be submitted to the government of Fiji.”

 Mr McGregor expressed his sympathy and condolences to the families and friends of those whose lives have been tragically taken in the accident.

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