WHAT HAPPENED ON NEW YEAR’S EVE?
* The DHC-2 Beaver left Cottage Point about 3pm on a charter flight to Rose Bay with five passengers and the pilot on board
* The plane was expected to follow a standard flight path and climb to the north, then turn right along Cowan Creek toward the main body of the Hawkesbury River until it got high enough to fly above terrain
* Instead, witnesses saw the plane enter Jerusalem Bay – to the left of the flight path and surrounded by steep terrain – at low altitude
* It then took a sudden steep right turn and its nose suddenly dropped before hitting the water in a near vertical position
* The plane was completely submerged after about 10 minutes
WHAT DO INVESTIGATORS KNOW SO FAR?
* There’s no evidence of a bird strike or collision before take-off or in-flight; and no evidence of an in-flight break-up or structural damage
* Damage to the wings was consistent with the aircraft being banked to the right at the time of impact; the flaps were in the climb position
* There was no evidence indicating an issue with flight controls
* The plane had an engine change in November 2017 which had recently been inspected and test run
WHAT REMAINS A MYSTERY?
* Why was the plane was in Jerusalem Bay and not on the authorised route?
* Why did the Beaver make an 80 to 90-degree right turn at such low altitude
* Did the pilot or a passenger suffer a medical episode?
WHERE TO NOW?
* Investigators will look more closely at the aircraft wreckage, its maintenance history, the pilot’s background, environmental influences, warning systems and operator policies and procedures and seek more information from witnesses
* They will also consider the results of the autopsies on those killed
* The final report is expected by the end of 2018.
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