Governments we deserve, but not governments we need
Silent cry of a woman in Papua New Guinea

Air Niugini looks at ‘gross negligence’ as cause of Chuuk crash

Air Niugini is considering the Brazilian Embraer jet as a possible replacement for some of its current fleet


LONDON, UK - Air Niugini is bringing in ‘human-factors’ experts to examine safety issues relating to the crash of a 737 aircraft in Chuuk lagoon, Micronesia, last October, killing one passenger and seriously injuring 6 others.

The airline’s managing director Alan Milne, a former Qantas executive, has told Reuters news agency that the pilots involved were not currently flying but remain employed at least until an investigation is complete.

"Was it a criminal act? No,” Mr Milne said. “Was it an intentional act? No.

“Was there gross negligence? That is what we've got to answer.

“That is the bit we are doing at the moment."

The pilots had disregarded 13 aural alerts as the plane came in to land, according to a report from the PNG Accident Investigation Commission released last week.

The accident was caused by pilot error, the report stated, but it did not delve into why the pilots did not abort the landing.

Milne also said that Air Niugini will replace its entire fleet of 25 planes in coming years and is looking at options before launching a tender.

"Everything is on the table at the moment," Milne told Reuters.

In 2016 the airline placed an order for four Boeing 737 MAX jets that had been due to arrive in 2020 and 2021 before the plane was grounded globally last year following deadly crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia.

An Embraer E195-E2 jet visited Port Moresby last week as part of a global demonstration tour. Milne said it was a potential replacement for the airline's aging Fokker jets.

Air Niugini currently has a ‘complex’ fleet of Fokkers, 737s, 767s and De Havilland Dash-8 turboprops.


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Bernard Corden

The concept of gross negligence, recklessness and manslaughter charges is fraught with complex legal technicalities covering the burden of proof. Indeed the act is not culpable unless the mind is guilty.

After almost 30 years a jury in the recent trial of the Hillsborough police commander was unable to reach a verdict and a retrial is imminent:

The late Captain Peter Sharp and several others were acquitted of charges following the MV Rabaul Queen disaster:

Civil action against Bureau Veritas and Meyer Werft, the German shipbuilder, in a French court recently proved unsuccessful because lawyers were unable to prove "intentional fault" following the 1994 MS Estonia passenger ferry disaster, which resulted in the deaths of almost 900 passengers:

The following link provides a summary of five key cases in the UK:

Another lawyer's picnic as the bereaved families are left chasing smoke.

"When the rich wage war it's the poor who die" - Jean-Paul Sartre

"Society cares for the individual only so far as he is profitable" - Simone de Beauvoir

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