A helicopter crash at Hobart Airport involving two people has been described as “serious”, with debris on the runway and flights thrown into chaos.
It is understood one person is dead and another critically injured.
“Police and emergency services are responding to a serious helicopter crash at Hobart Airport with two people involved,” a police statement said a short time ago.
“It is understood this incident is impacting on airport operations, including commercial flights.”
Passengers at the airport have been told that flights in and out of the city had been suspended and reported seeing fire trucks and ambulances on the runway.
“It must be pretty bad, I’m looking at some of the staff and they are crying — it is not nice,” Scott McGinley, a passenger waiting for a flight, told The Mercury newspaper. Passengers at the airport, east of Hobart, said the crash appeared to be about 500 metres from the terminal.
The cause of the crash is unknown. There has been recent controversy over Hobart’s airspace management.
Australia’s air safety regulator last year decided against any major change to Hobart’s air space, prompting claims it was courting tragedy and continuing a cover-up over Tasmania’s bungled $6 million radar system.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority in August last year released the findings of a review of Hobart’s airspace, ordered after a series of stories in The Australian about failures in the state’s radar system, known as TASWAM.
The Australian in 2015 revealed TASWAM was not being used to control aircraft to the ground; only as an addition tool for local tower controllers providing “procedural separation”, which relies on visual observation and communication with pilots.
This newspaper also revealed that failures in TASWAM — including planes disappearing from radar screens for minutes on end — were occurring almost monthly and that air traffic controllers had described the system as “unreliable”.
CASA responded to the criticism, and a projected 30% to 40% increase in passengers into Hobart over the next five years due to a tourism boom, by ordering an Office of Airspace Regulation review of Hobart airspace.
However, the report released last year rejected calls by pilots and Airlines of Tasmania for TASWAM to be used as they believed it was intended: to guide aircraft to the runway, rather than to only 8,500 ft as occurs currently.
Instead, the report recommended continuing with local air tower controllers using procedural separation below 8,500 feet, describing this as “appropriate”.
This was despite the report noting 16.6 per cent growth in aircraft movements at Hobart Airport between 2012 and 2015, and an 86 per cent increase at the adjacent Cambridge Airport in the six years to 2015. The Hobart tower handles both airports.
The report did recommend continued redesign of flight routes in and out of Hobart and did occur.
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This is happening more frequently and there should be an investigation
I now of the problems and figuring out what the problem is, the hostin
I don't know if it's just me or if perhaps everybody else encountering
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