Friday, 18 July 2014

Debate continues over causes of Lockerbie, says air accident investigator

[A report by Mark Hirst published this afternoon on the website of the Russian news agency RIA Novosti contains the following:]

It is too early to draw any definitive conclusions over what caused aircrash of Malaysian flight MH17 in Eastern Ukraine, a former air accident investigator told RIA Novosti.

“It is too early to make any definitive conclusions on what caused the crash of this aircraft. There is a lot of apparent evidences, pointing towards a fairly sophisticated ground-to-air-missile. But as with any disaster like this, it’s requires some very close study to finish up with definitive conclusions,” said Tony Cable, who has been an investigator with the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch for 32 years and worked on the Lockerbie/Pan Am 103 bombing and the Paris Concorde disaster. (...)

Cable also told RIA Novosti he was surprised commercial flights were being permitted to fly directly over the conflict zone and said the responsibility for that had to rest with the Governments.

“I was surprised that aircraft were being allowed to fly over that area,” Cable said. “As far as I can see the responsibility for that would be government to government. So the Malaysian equivalent of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office giving advice to airlines. I don’t think you can expect the airlines themselves to work out that sort of detail on all the territories they cover.”

Cable worked directly on the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, and despite the largest criminal investigation ever conducted in the UK and subsequent conviction of Libyan Abdelbaset al Megrahi, speculation still continues to this day over who was actually behind the attack. Cable told RIA Novosti a similar scenario could be repeated with Flight MH17.

“I could see a possibility of debate continuing over the causes of this disaster going on for years, as it has done with Lockerbie,” Cable said. “That is very much in the security and political field and way outside pure accident investigation which can just say what happened. It’s up to other folks to figure out why it happened.”

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