WW24, vicinity Norfolk Island South Pacific, 2009
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On 18 November 2009 an IAI Westwind 1124 being operated by Australian charter company Pel-Air on a Medevac flight from Apia, Samoa to Melbourne via an intended refuelling stop at Norfolk Island was unable to obtain sufficient visual reference to complete a night landing despite making four successive non precision approaches and the aircraft commander elected to carry out a controlled ditching offshore as there was not enough fuel left to reach the designated alternate. The ditching was successful but the aircraft broke in two and quickly became submerged. All six occupants managed to escape including, with assistance, the stretchered patient with just one sustaining serious injury.
An Investigation was carried out by the ATSB. The flight was noted to have been operated for aeromedical retrieval purposes and conducted in a transport category aircraft as an aerial work operation. Under Australian regulations, aerial work operations are a separate flight category from passenger carrying charter and scheduled air transport operations. The four passengers on the accident flight were a doctor, a nurse, the patient and one person accompanying the patient.