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Malaysia rules out compensation talks with Australia for Double Six tragedy: Loke
Published on: Thursday, July 11, 2024
By: FMT
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Malaysia rules out compensation talks with Australia for Double Six tragedy: Loke
The 1976 plane crash claimed the lives of then Sabah chief minister Fuad Stephens and 10 others. (File pic)
PETALING JAYA: Malaysia has no plans for talks with the Australian government on compensation for the families of the victims of the 1976 plane crash that claimed the lives of then Sabah chief minister Fuad Stephens and 10 others.

Transport minister Loke Siew Fook said the report on the plane crash, known as the Double Six tragedy, clearly stated that it was due to human error and not any technical fault or sabotage.

“Therefore, the ministry does not plan to hold discussions with the Australian government to provide compensation for the victims’ next of kin,” he said in a written parliamentary reply in response to a question by Riduan Rubin (Independent-Tenom).

In April last year, the transport ministry released the declassified report on the crash following a Kota Kinabalu High Court ruling compelling Putrajaya to make public the findings.

The report, jointly prepared by the civil aviation department, the Royal Malaysian Air Force and the Australian transport department, found no evidence of sabotage, fire or explosion.

It said the probable cause of the crash was “a centre of gravity position well outside the aft limit, which caused the control column to run out of forward range on the final approach to land”.

The report also said there was a problem with the professional compliance of operating procedures by the company operating the flight, and that the pilot had exceeded his 10-hour duty period by 67 minutes.

Several weeks after the declassification of the report, Canberra also declassified an investigation report by the manufacturer of the aircraft involved, Australian-owned company Government Aircraft Factories (GAF).

This report found that the airline was operating illegally as the then civil aviation department had not approved the draft of its operations manual.

Like the Malaysian report on the crash, GAF’s report also ruled out fire or sabotage as probable causes for the incident, noting that a preliminary investigation had identified overloading at the back of the aircraft as the cause.

In the incident, Fuad, who had been sworn in as chief minister just 53 days earlier, died along with 10 others including state ministers, when the GAF Nomad aircraft they were in crashed in Sembulan, Kota Kinabalu.

The others who died included state ministers Salleh Sulong, Chong Thien Vun and Peter Mojuntin.

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