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No evidence flight crew was incapacitated, says initial report on Elmina plane crash

It says the pilots had no known medical conditions that could have posed significant hazards to flight safety.

2 minute read
A view of the debris of the crashed plane in Elmina, Shah Alam, Aug 17.
A view of the debris of the crashed plane in Elmina, Shah Alam, Aug 17.

The preliminary report on the plane crash at Bandar Elmina in Shah Alam, Selangor, ruled that there was no evidence of incapacitation or physiological factors that affected the pilot's performance as the cause of the fatal accident.

According to the aircraft accident preliminary report issued by the transport ministry's Air Accident Investigation Bureau (AAIB) today, both the pilot-in-command (PIC) and second-in-command (SIC) had enough rest before the flight and, based on health history and physical examination, had no serious medical problems.

"On witness account, the PIC was reported to be well the night before the accident. The witness also said that the PIC had a good rest before the flight departing from Langkawi," said the report published on the transport ministry's official website today.

On Aug 17, a private aircraft, a Beechcraft Model 390 (Premier 1) bearing the registration number N28JV, crashed in Elmina, Shah Alam, killing eight onboard (six passengers and two flight crew members), one e-hailing driver, and a p-hailing motorcyclist.

The 60-page report also explained that the PIC was licenced and qualified for the flight in accordance with existing regulations, and both pilots held valid medical certificates from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM).

The report stated that the PIC gained a First Class Medical Certificate from FAA with a limitation that he "must use corrective lenses to meet vision standards at all required distances" on March 24, 2023, and held the CAAM Medical Certificate, which was valid from Dec 6, 2022, till Dec 31, 2023, with a limitation of "VDL, or valid only with correction for defective distant vision".

"The review of the medical certificate and supporting documentation indicated that the PIC reported no significant medical concerns, and the attending designated medical examiner identified no significant conditions on physical examination.

"Based on available history and physical examinations, this pilot had no known medical conditions that could pose significant hazards to flight safety," the report said.

Another finding shows that the incident happened in the daytime, with reported clear visibility of more than 10km and fine meteorological conditions with winds variable at 05 knots.

However, the AAIB noted that the report contains a statement of facts that has been determined up to the time it has been issued; it must be regarded as tentative and is subject to alteration or correction if additional evidence becomes available.

In a statement today, the transport ministry said the final report of the investigation will be completed no later than August next year in accordance with the Convention on International Civil Aviation (ICAO Annex 13), which allows for a 12-month period to finalise the document following the accident.

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