A tragic story out of Sydney, Australia, as the cause of a plane crash on New Year’s Eve in 2017 that claimed the life of Richard Cousins and four other passengers is alleged to be a passenger that was taking photographs.
This theory is offered up by Sydney Seaplanes partner Jerry Schwartz who told Sky News “The investigation has shown that safety is good and it's actually believed to not be pilot error. The current belief is the passenger at the front actually knocked out the pilot.”
This theory cites the reportedly sound mechanical condition of the plane and its sudden steep right turn that led to it crashing and killing all five on board.
The plane was returning from a dinner and the pilot of the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver, Gareth Morgan, was experienced and qualified which is why the last maneuver is believed to have some cause other than pilot error such as the pilot getting knocked out accidentally.
Sky News cites this theory, stating that reports indicate that “the passenger may have accidentally struck the pilot in the head while moving his arm to take photos of the Hawkesbury River.”
The Telegraph reports that the de Havilland involved was rebuilt following a deadly crash in the 1990s though it passed all of its current mechanical inspections.
Sydney Seaplanes’ Aaron Shaw said of the investigation, “The key question arising from the report is why the plane crashed, approximately halfway down Jerusalem Bay, which is surrounded by steep terrain and has no exit. It is not a route we authorise in our Landing and Take-off Register and the plane simply should not have been where it was. Further, the aircraft is then reported to have entered into an 80 to 90 degree bank angle turn. A turn of this nature at low altitude by a pilot with Gareth's skill, experience and intimate knowledge of the location is totally inexplicable.”
The aircraft did not have a blackbox or cockpit voice recorder though The Telegraph reports that is required by law.
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