N.Z. coroner accepts French findings on plane crash

6th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

A New Zealand coroner on Wednesday accepted the findings of a French investigation into the 2008 crash of an Air New Zealand jet that killed seven people.

Coroner Gordon Matenga said there was no need to hold a separate inquest into the deaths of five New Zealanders who were on board the plane, finding the French probe into the crash was thorough and well-documented.

The Airbus A320 plunged into the sea off France's Mediterranean coast on November 27, 2008, killing the New Zealanders and two Germans who were conducting a low-speed, low-altitude test after a technical overhaul.

The plane, which had been leased to Germany's XL Airlines, had been flown to France for tests at Perpignan aerodrome and to be repainted before its return to the Air New Zealand fleet.

In a report last September, France's BEA air accident investigation agency blamed the crash on pilots undertaking risky manoeuvres and maintenance errors.

"I am satisfied that the appropriate investigating agency, with appropriate expertise, has investigated the cause and circumstances of the crash and resultant deaths," Matenga said in a finding published Wednesday.

Matenga found that all five New Zealanders died of multiple traumatic injuries sustained in a crash that was not survivable.

© 2011 AFP

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