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Title: SAAB 340B Accident at Fua’amotu Airport (8 December 2023)

4 April 2024

The Minister for Infrastructure has appointed a Chief Investigator in accordance with the Tonga Civil Aviation Act; to conduct an independent investigation into the Lulutai Airlines SAAB340B accident that occurred on 8 December 2023. Financial assistance from the Australian Government represented by the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade of Australia (DFAT) enabled this initiative. In addition, the ATSB is the independent accident investigation authority for Australia and has appointed an accredited representative to provide technical assistance and advice to the Chief Investigator’s safety investigation. More so, the Australian Safety Transport Bureau (ATSB) is supporting the investigation in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organization Annex 13. 

The Chief Investigator is publishing this preliminary report as an update on the ongoing investigation. Within this report, there is no findings outlined nor provide analysis and therefore should be boldly highlighted that this preliminary reports only provides factual information derived from the investigation’s initial evidence collection phase.  

As the investigation continues, the Chief Investigator with technical assistance from the ATSB will continue an assessment of the recovered components, review collected documentation together with all other relevant material to the investigation. In due course, a final report will be released at the conclusion of the investigation. Should a critical safety issue be identified during the course of the investigation, the Chief Investigator will immediately notify relevant parties so appropriate and timely safety action can be taken. A preliminary report is available if required from the Chief Investigator – Mr. James Panuve. 

Press Release: Ministry of Infrastructure

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