Authorities Won’t Yet Reveal Reason for VN Airlines Crash

More than six months after the crash of a Vietnam Airlines jet near Pochentong Airport, Cam­bo­dian aviation authorities say they now know the cause of the accident that killed 64 people.

But there is no indication when the results of the investigation will be released to the public.

“We know the results from the analysis of the black boxes and the reason that the flight crashed,” said Chea Aun, who heads the investigation team, Thursday.

Emergency Committee Direct­or Sok Sambaur on Sunday said results cannot be released publicly until a formal report is completed, in accordance with Inter­national Civil Aviation Organiz­ation regulations. He said the report will be completed soon but did not elaborate and would not estimate how long it would take.

The investigation of the Sep­tember crash of the Tupolev 134 has been fraught with problems involving the plane’s flight data recorders, or “black boxes.” All passengers but a Thai boy and a Vietnamese boy were killed when it plowed into a rice paddy in overcast conditions.

Last month, authorities said the results had been sent from Russia to Vietnam in January but Viet­nam Airlines had withheld the information despite repeated formal requests. The government had also been waiting for the air carrier to analyze the voice re­cord­ers containing conversation between the pilots and Pochen­tong control tower, said Chea Aun, an official with the aviation authority.

Once the report is completed, Chea Aun explained, there will be a 60-day period when the investigation’s conclusion can be challenged before it becomes official.

The officials would not say whether any factors had been ruled out. Preliminary reports had suggested that the weather contributed to the accident. There has also been speculation, which the government has denied, that the lack of proper lighting and navigation equipment at the airport might have caused the crash.

Villagers stole the data re­corders after the crash, and the government had to buy them back. The recorders then were sent for analysis to the plane’s manufacturer in Russia.

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