BY EOIN BLACKWELL
AAP IS REPORTING that a pair of over-spinning propellers is being investigated as the cause of a plane crash that killed 28 people in Papua New Guinea last month.
The PNG Accident Investigation Commission's preliminary report into the13 October crash near Madang shows the Airlines PNG Dash 8 went into high speed in the minutes before the crash.
"Both propellers simultaneously oversped and exceeded their maximum permitted revolutions per minute by in excess of 60%," the report, released today, said.
"Witnesses on the ground reported hearing a loud 'bang' as this occurred. The flight crew shut down the engines."
After calling in a state of emergency, the plane plunged almost 4,000 metres and crashed near the Buang River, 33km southeast of Madang.
Australian pilot Bill Spencer, 64, his New Zealand co-pilot Campbell Wagstaff, a crew member and a passenger were the only survivors of the crash.
Of the passengers, 11 were on their way to a graduation ceremony at Divine Word University.
Air crash investigator Sid O'Toole told reporters it was unusual for both propellers to overspeed at the same time.
"Around the world, I haven't seen very many of them, traditionally, there has only been one engine," he said. "What makes this unusual is there were two."
Mr O'Toole said a recent announcement by Airlines PNG that a faulty component had been identified was premature.
He said the airline had probably used investigator briefings in its public statements last week about the faulty component, which it blamed for the crash.
The airline has resumed flying its Dash 8 fleet after being cleared by PNG's Civil Aviation and Safety Authority last week.
Source: AAP, 4 November