• ATSB Commissioner Chris Manning. (Steve Hitchen)
    ATSB Commissioner Chris Manning. (Steve Hitchen)

The second Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) investigation report into the 2009 crash of a Pel-Air Westwind off Norfolk Island is due to be released in the next two weeks..

ATSB Commissioner Chris Manning today told the Regional Aviation Association convention that he expects to approve the final report, which is expected to stretch to 500 pages, in the next couple of days.

Westwind VH-NGA with six people on board was on an aeromedical flight from Samoa to Melbourne on 18 November 2009, when it ditched off Norfolk Island because it was low on fuel, and had been unable to land after four VOR approaches had to be aborted.

All on board survived the accident.

The initial ATSB report published in August 2012 indicated shortcomings in the pre-flight and en route planning, and the crew not properly assessing the situation before it was too late to divert to an alternate to refuel.

The report became controversial because it appeared to ignore systemic issues and focused too much on the crew, and was referred to the Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport two weeks later. Then ATSB Chief Commissioner Martin Dolan later admitted the report was not one he was proud of.

In 2014, a Canadian Transportation Safety Bureau review of the ATSB singled out the report as an example where the ATSB did not stick to "sound investigation procedures", prompting the ATSB to re-open the investigation.

The ATSB returned to the crash site and recovered the flight data recorder in 2015.

Updated 7.30 pm 27 October 2017.

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