The family of a helicopter pilot who died in a crash in South
Westland nearly three years ago is upset over the time it has
taken for the Transport Accident Investigation Commission to
complete its investigation.
Alan and Chris Stott's flight instructor son Graham Stott
(31) and Marcus Hoogvliet (21), a licensed pilot training for
his commercial licence, died when their Robinson 22
helicopter crashed near the head of the Arawhata River on
April 27, 2011.
Mr Stott told the Otago Daily Times this week he had
received a copy of the 60-page draft final report into the
crash on December 4, but he was ''disgusted'' at the length
of time the investigation had taken.
''It's ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous.
''We, as the family, are not happy.''
Mr Stott believed the Carterton balloon crash, which killed
11 people in January 2012 had taken priority over his son's
Mr Stott's son-in-law, Corey O'Leary, who has been
representing the Stott family, said he could see the issue
from both sides and ''to be fair'' to TAIC, it had had other
crashes to deal with.
''Obviously, the hot air [balloon] was a commercial [flight]
with paying tourists. Obviously, that takes a bit of
priority, which I can fully understand.
''It's one of those things that takes time.
''At the end of the day, they have got to be thorough and
TAIC general manager communications and investigation support
Peter Northcote, of Wellington, told the ODT this week the
commission regretted the delay.
Its aim was to complete inquiries within one or two years,
''depending on complexity and availability of staff and case
prioritisation'', he said.
The reasons for the delay included the commission having two
investigators, rather than three, during much of the time
since the crash.
It had to prioritise cases in the same period, including
aviation crashes at Fox Glacier, Feilding, and Carterton.
A report into flying training safety was also given priority
as were several commercial airline ''incidents and
accidents'', he said.
''We do appreciate that waiting for answers can be hard on
those affected, and we have been keeping family
representatives and other parties concerned updated ...
The commission has yet to consider submissions on the draft
report and decide if more work needs to be done.
''Assuming this is straightforward, then a final report is
expected to be published in March 2014.''