Sea plane with tourists crash-lands, all passengers safe

A Trans Maldivian Airways seaplane carrying 11 tourists crashed landed in the water near Kuredhu Island Resort in north central Maldives at 5:30pm today.

The passengers and three members of crew are safe, TMA has said.

The Twin Otter seaplane sank within minutes of crash-landing. A speedboat rescued the passengers and crew within minutes. There were no injuries.

“We have started a comprehensive investigation and will provide support to the relevant investigating authorities,” the TMA said in a statement.

The crash landing occurred just a couple of miles off of Kuredhu Island.

Seaplane accidents are rare in the Maldives.

The TMA and Maldivian Air Taxi (MAT) provide seaplane transfer to a number of tourist resorts. TMA transports nearly one million passengers annually.

In February 2012, an MAT aircraft crash-landed on the water runway at Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA) with nine passengers due to poor weather conditions. None of the passengers or crew sustained injuries.

A TMA flight crash-landed near Biyadhoo Island resort in February 2011.

TMA won the world’s leading seaplane operator at the World Travel Awards in 2014. The company which merged with MAT in 2013 operates the world’s largest seaplane fleet.

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Aviation authorities await seaplane crash report before considering safety review

The Civil Aviation Department has said that it will wait to complete an investigation into the crash landing of a Trans Maldivian Airways (TMA) seaplane near Biyaadhoo Island Resort during a training flight this morning, before considering amendments to flight policy in the country.

The aviation body’s Director General, Hussein Jaleel, confirmed to Minivan News today that no injuries were reported to the two pilots involved in the crash – reported to be the only people on board at the time. The spokesperson said that investigators currently believed the crash had resulted only in structural damage to the seaplane after it came down near an assigned landing point in a reef by the South Male’ Atoll resort.

Jaleel said that he was presently unable to presently reveal many details about the collision, other than that the Civil Aviation Department’s Accident Investigation Committee were now interviewing the pilots involved in the flight as part of ongoing investigations into a possible cause of the crash landing.

An official spokesperson for TMA – which is one of the country’s two largest operators of seaplane services along with Maldivian Air Taxis – was unavailable for comment when contacted by Minivan News at the time of going to press.

However, in terms of the possible need to implement changes in regulation or seaplane policy following the crash, Hussein Jaleel said authorities would wait for investigations to be completed on today’s incident before making any changes. “However, if it is revealed that new policies are required we would ensure we did this,” he added.

Seaplane incidents

When asked about the number of incidents investigated in relation to the country’s seaplane operations from the start of this year, Jaleel said he did not have the exact figures on him at the time of going to press as aviation authorities investigated incidents of varying severity in the course of their work.

However, the aviation department director general told Minivan News that in terms of events like a crash landing, this was believed to be the first case of such an incident occurring in 2011.

Back in December 2010, the Civil Aviation Department confirmed that a collision had occurred between a Maldivian Air Taxi seaplane and another aircraft at Male’ International Airport that resulted in no injuries or major damage being recorded.

Authorities said at the time that investigators had found the collision to be a minor accident involving the wingtip of an aircraft colliding with another craft, an event which was not seen as “a major safety concern” for future operations.

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President Nasheed sends condolences to Indian president

President Mohamed Nasheed has sent his condolences to President of India, Pratibha Patil, after the plane crash in Mangalore Saturday morning.

The Air India flight from Dubai to Mangalore crashed early morning while trying to land.

Eight people survived the crash, but 158 did not.

President Nasheed expressed his sympathy for the families who lost loved ones in the accident.

This is the third plane crash in the region within a week, after a plane crash in Libya and another in Afghanistan.

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President Nasheed sends condolences after Tripoli plane crash

President Mohamed Nasheed sent his condolences to Libyan leader Muammar Al-Qadhafi and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands following the plane crash in Tripoli last Sunday.

The Afriqiyah Ariways flight, on route to Libya from South Africa, crashed near the Libyan capital and was carrying mostly Dutch tourists.

The only survivor was a nine year-old Dutch boy.

President Nasheed sent his sympathies to all the families who lost loved ones in the crash as well as the two countries.

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