27 Nov 2009

December plane crash in Vanuatu linked to overloading

3:19 pm on 27 November 2009

The final report into a plane crash that killed two people in Vanuatu last December has found it was overloaded.

The Vanuatu Daily Post reports the Air Vanuatu plane was carrying nine passengers when it crashed in West Santo.

The captain, John Banto, and one passenger died, while two passengers sustained serious injuries.

An investigation by New Zealand's Transport, Accident and Investigation Commission has found the Britten-Norman Islander was overloaded by seven percent.

It says this probably affected its climbing performance, forcing the pilot to land into the slope of a ridge.

The report asks the Civil Aviation Authority of Vanuatu to consider why the weight of the aircraft was not verified before the flight departed from Lajmoli, and if this is symptomatic of a broader issue.

It also says the poor configuration of seatbelts on the plane may have contributed to the death of a passenger, and that the other passengers reduced their chance of survival by leaving the accident site.