6 Apr 2011

Coroner won't reopen inquiry into NZ Airbus crash

7:28 pm on 6 April 2011

Newly-released findings from a Hamilton coroner support a French investigation into the crash of an Air New Zealand plane in 2008.

The Airbus A320 crashed off the coast of Perpignan into the Mediterranean while on a test flight in November 2008, killing five New Zealanders and two German pilots.

Coroner Gordon Matenga began a full inquiry when the remains of the New Zealanders were repatriated but suspended it while France's accident investigation agency, the BEA, conducted its investigations.

A final report from the BEA in 2010 found that multiple factors led to the crash, including pilot error and poor maintenance.

Shellie Horrell, the widow of Brian Horrell who was a New Zealand observer on the flight, said she believed the French investigation was not sufficiently thorough.

However Mr Matenga disagrees, and has declined to resume the inquiry.

He ruled that the five New Zealanders died of multiple injuries and says no one could have survived the crash.