30 November 2008

Air New Zealand-owned A320 crashes into Mediterranean

Friday, 28 November 2008, was one of those days I dread. I usually check the web first thing in the morning and was horrified to see the early reports that an Air New Zealand-owned Airbus A320, in the process of being returned from XL Airways Germany, had crashed into the sea off France near Perpignan. I soon learnt that someone from our Civil Aviation Authority was suspected to be on board.

Air New Zealand has issued a series of media releases on the crash as have various official bodies (not all are available on the web yet).

Air New Zealand:

Incident 0829 28/11
Update 1438 28/11
Update 1724 28/11
Update 2146 28/11
Update 0600 29/11
Update 0900 29/11
Update 1328 29/11
Update 2030 29/11
Update 0807 30/11
Update NEW 1028 2/12
Update NEW 1328 2/12
Update NEW 1512 7/12
Update NEW 1528 13/1
Update NEW 1229 15/1
Update NEW 19/1
Update NEW 20/1
Update NEW 1449 20/1
Update NEW 22/1
Update NEW 23/1

Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses (BEA):

Accident on approach to Perpignan 2008 27/11
Accident on approach to Perpignan 2008 NEW 3/12

Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand:

CAA staff shocked by accident involving missing colleague NEW 28/11

New Zealand Prime Minister:

Statement on Air New Zealand plane crash 28/11

New Zealand Minister of Transport:

Government concerned for Air NZ & CAA staff on crashed Airbus

There is no point in speculating as to exactly what happened. That usually takes time to establish but I hope that the accident investigators are able to find some answers that we can learn from and that the investigation does not become entangled in judicial proceedings.

At the time of the crash, the aircraft was still on the German registry as D-AXLA, having not yet been handed back to Air New Zealand, but it had already been repainted in Air New Zealand colours. Seeing a photograph of the tail fin with the koru floating in the sea was particularly hard. The accident happened on the 29th anniversary of the Erebus tragedy, a day I still remember well. I was studying at Otago University in Dunedin then.

Rest in peace guys.

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