KUCHING: The Transport Ministry, which is probing Friday's crash of a Bell 206 Long Ranger helicopter, will also audit the operations of the state-owned Hornbill Skyways Sdn Bhd.
The ministry has grounded Hornbill's 10 helicopters following the crash near Asajaya which killed all four on board.
On July 12, another of Hornbill's Bell 206 helicopters crashed near Mt Murud after taking off from Miri airport, killing all seven on board.
Minister Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy said the audit exercise was not to find fault but to look at weaknesses in Hornbill's operations so that measures could be taken to prevent another tragedy.
“The team will look into the management of the company, maintenance of aircraft and training of pilots,” Chan told reporters after meeting Hornbill's management team here yesterday.
Present were Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Douglas Unggah, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, Hornbill Skyways chairman Tan Sri Bujang Mohd Noor and its chief executive officer Aidian Wing.
Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) chief accident investigator Idros Abdul Rahman will lead a team to probe Friday's crash, while DCA air worthiness director Azharuddin Abdul Rahman is heading the audit team.
The teams comprise DCA engineers, inspectors and pilots.
Chan said although travel by helicopter was very important in Sarawak, safety should be given top priority and not to be compromised.
He said he had received a preliminary report on the July 12 Bell 206 crash and was waiting for more details.
“Reports have come back from the aircraft manufacturer and the inspection of the engine from Singapore.
“We still have to interview some people and it will take some time to do a full report,” he added.
In that crash, state Assistant Minister Dr Judson Sakai Tagal and three senior Sarawak Electricity Supply Corporation executives were among the seven who perished.
Hornbill has six helicopters here and four in Miri. Only seven helicopters were in operation while the others were under maintenance.