"Promoting the science of aerospace medicine"

1st of June 2012

Aviation accidents more often than believed: Australian agency

SYDNEY, May 29 (Xinhua) -- The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said on Tuesday that aviation occurrence statistics showed plane accidents happening more often than many people thought.

According to ATSB's statistical report released on Tuesday, there were 130 accidents, 121 serious incidents and 6,823 incidents in 2011 involving Australian-registered aircraft.

These accidents included a freight flight that disappeared while trying to land in the Torres Strait Islands, a Boeing 777 that flew just 1,000 feet above suburban Melbourne and a helicopter from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation tragically lost on a flight over Lake Eyre in South Australia.

"Aviation occurrence statistics provide a reminder to everyone involved in the operation of aircraft that accidents, incidents, and injuries happen more often than is widely believed," the ATSB said.

"Some of the most frequent accident types are preventable, particularly in general aviation."

The ATSB found that general aviation operations continued to have an accident rate higher than commercial air transport operations, about four times higher for accidents and nine times higher for fatal accidents in 2011.

Most commercial air transport accidents and serious incidents were related to reduced aircraft separation, and engine issues.

The ATSB found charter operations accounted for most of the accidents, including two fatal accidents in 2011.

Air transport incidents were more likely to involve birdstrikes or a failure to comply with air traffic control instructions.