Public gets edited original report

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 February, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 February, 2005, 12:00am

The seven-week delay between the chief executive receiving the Board of Review report and making it public appears to have been used to make changes to the original Civil Aviation Department report.

Sources familiar with the draft department's report - which was never made public because of China Airlines' objections to it - say the version released with the board's report on Friday appeared to contain several minor changes.

But the department's most controversial conclusion - that the singular cause of the accident was the pilot's 'inability to arrest the high rate of descent' in the final 15 metres - remains unchanged.

The decision not to change that conclusion comes despite the board report's claim that 'to attribute the cause ... to one singular event or factor is an over simplification'. In an apparent criticism of the department's conclusion, the report emphasises the investigation sought 'not to apportion blame or liability but for the preservation of life and avoidance of accidents in future'.

The board rejected the airline's challenge to the department's conclusion, but only on the basis that the pilot's performance was 'a significant factor contributing to the accident'.

'We take the view that as in most accidents, no single factor or person could or should be isolated and held solely responsible.'

The accident 'was caused by a number of factors including meteorological phenomenon and human judgment errors which had accumulated and multiplied during the flight and, more particularly, during ... descent', it said.