Concerned citizens call for resignations after release of preliminary report on Saab crash

Critics have called  for the Prime Minister and board members of Lulutai airlines as well as the airlines’ CEO, to resign.


The calls came in the wake of the release of a preliminary report into the accident which put Lulutai’s Saab airliner out of action.

The report said that the flight data recording on the Lulutai airliner that was damaged in December last year was not working properly.

Aviation industry experts have contacted Kaniva News to say they were “shocked” to read that the data recorder of the aircraft was not working properly.

One aviation source described the report about the recorder as “so serious.”

There have been extensive calls by concerned citizens for the resignations.

The report does not make any findings as to the cause of the accident.

A preliminary report from the investigation into the accident organised by the Ministry for Infrastructure’s civil aviation department said the flight data recorder did not contain any information about the aircraft’s progress before it ran off the runway and crashed into a concrete wall.

Nobody was injured.

As we reported earlier, the recorder indicated that it last worked properly on July 11, 2023.

There were signs that the recorder may have been deliberately disabled.

The cockpit voice recorder was working, but the cockpit microphone appeared to have been operating at a very low level. The underwater locator beacon had not been fitted.

Flight data recorders are popularly known as black boxes, even though they are painted bright orange. They capture critical flight data, such as altitude, airspeed, vertical acceleration, pitch, roll, heading, and engine performance data. Flight data recorders are designed to survive crashes, fire and  being submerged.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which is helping with the investigation, said black boxes were invaluable tools for helping investigators work out what might have caused an accident.

Cockpit voice recorders (CVR) record audio in the cockpit.

According to the United States National Transport Safety Board, “sounds of interest to an investigator could be engine noise, stall warnings, landing gear extension and retraction, and other clicks and pops.”

The information recorded can help understand what happened in the sequence of events leading up to an accident.

The installation and operation of black boxes is governed by national and international legislation, including the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), of which Tonga is a member.

We have contacted the Prime Minister and CEO Of Lulutai for comment.

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