Dozens of fly-in fly-out mine workers could have avoided a plane crash if airline workers did a more thorough inspection, a national transport safety investigator has said.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) blamed a lack of care for a July 30 accident involving a Cobham Aviation Services Australia aircraft that was carrying 62 FIFO workers to Gold Fields’ Granny Smith Gold Mine near Laverton, 740km northeast of Perth.
Flight crew poorly monitored the Avro RJ85 carrier’s brake system pressure during two separate pre-flight checklists, causing the plane to depart with “insufficient pressure” after staying parked at Perth Airport for several hours longer than the “brake accumulator reservoir could retain pressure”.
When the captain ordered the main wheel landing gear chocks to be removed he quickly realised the aircraft had no way to prevent itself from rolling forward. The carrier crashed into a bollard and light pole despite making several attempts to apply the brake without success.
“This investigation highlights the importance of ensuring all checklist items are addressed,” ATSB executive director transport safety Nat Nagy said in a public statement.
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“As highlighted in this accident, individuals can be vulnerable to omitting checklist items and this can lead to accidents,” Nagy said.
“One of the key defences against this type of accident is the other pilot monitoring and cross-checking the pilot who is completing the checklist. This can provide a last line of defence to trap individual errors.”