PETALING JAYA: The declassified investigative report on the “Double Six” plane crash in 1976 did not mention any black box recordings as black boxes were not mandatory on that specific aircraft then, says transport minister Loke Siew Fook.
Loke was responding to a question from Wilfred Madius Tangau (PH-Tuaran) who asked why the report made no mention of recordings from the plane’s black box.
“The final investigative report did not mention the records from the black box/flight recorder as the installation of a black box/flight recorder on the GAF N–22B Nomad plane model was not required at the time,” he said in a written Dewan Rakyat reply.
Loke also said there was no need for the then government to publicise the findings as the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) regulations stated that it did not need to do so.
He cited the fourth edition of the ICAO’s Annex 13, Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation.
“However, this was amended in the 10th edition of Annex 13 in July 2010, whereby investigative reports on aviation accidents must be prepared and published within 12 months of an incident.
“Since then, all aviation crashes involving Malaysia have been made public,” he said.
He also said any form of compensation for the next of kin of the crash victims must be resolved through existing legal processes.
The tragedy on June 6, 1976 claimed the lives of then Sabah chief minister Fuad Stephens, state ministers Salleh Sulong, Chong Thien Vun and Peter Mojuntin, as well as seven others, after the GAF Nomad aircraft they were in crashed in Sembulan, Kota Kinabalu.
Earlier today, Sabah deputy chief minister Jeffrey Kitingan said many questions would remain over the crash as long as the whereabouts of the aircraft’s black box remained unknown.
Kitingan said the ill-fated plane would have had a black box as every plane was required to be equipped with one, and could provide crucial information about the crash.
Investigations into the crash were launched by Malaysian authorities, GAF and the Australian department of transport, but their findings were not made public until this April.
The Malaysian authorities’ report said there was no evidence of sabotage, fire or an explosion in the crash.
The Australian report on the crash, also released in April, found that Sabah Air was operating illegally at the time of the incident.
The report said Sabah Air had submitted a draft of its operations manual towards the end of 1975, but the document was never approved by the then civil aviation department, a federal authority.