Fox accident caused by series of errors - expert
Tue, 14 Aug 2012 1:07p.m.
By Jessica Rowe
An aviation expert who wrote a report on the Fox Glacier crash has told the inquest a series of errors contributed to the accident that killed nine people almost two years ago, on September 4, 2010.
"Had the aircraft been loaded in proper range and had the plane been at the right weight, this accident would not have occurred," Barry Payne told the inquest.
“I think I say in my report accidents are never usually the result of a single event – normally a chain of errors occurs. It is very common in the aviation industry and I know CAA have portrayed this many times.”
Among those who lost their lives in the incident were four tourists from Australia, England, Ireland and Germany.
Some of their families have travelled to Greymouth for the inquest, and they are looking to find accountability for the tragedy.
“We can only hope that lessons are learned from this instance, and no family has to go through the horrific heartache we've now had,” said Glen Byrne, who lost his brother Patrick Byrne in the crash.
“He was known to us as Paddy, a great lad. We miss him every day.”
The court also heard from eyewitnesses to the crash.
“I heard the crash [and] saw the explosion, it was a fire ball, a cloud of smoke,” said Gregory John Rowan, a tandem master for Skydive NZ.
“I rang 111 straight away and got put through to the fire service, I ran down the runway 400 metres and got to the crash site but couldn’t get close, [I] couldn’t see much.”
The inquest is set for five days, over which 16 witnesses will be called.
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