"Near Miss" Incidents Of 2013 and 2014 Connected?
In my last post I drew readers’ attention to similarities between the 19 March 2014, Perth airport near-miss, between an aircraft and what the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) called an “unknown object;” and a second incident which happened on 4 January 2013, also near Perth airport. Keith Basterfield and I noted that the 4 January 2013 incident happened close to Perth airport, but did not then know the distance and bearing of the 2013 incident. Did it happen in the same area as that from 2014?
I submitted an urgent Freedom of Information (FOI) request to Air Services Australia (ASA) three days ago; and in came their surprisingly rapid response this morning. ASA advised that the 2013 incident occurred at a bearing of 072 degrees at 22 nautical miles from Perth airport. ASA then provided us with a link to a public database maintained by the ATSB. On this ATSB database was occurrence reference number 201300221, dated 4 January 2013. It was the incident we were after! The details on the database confirmed that the 4 January 2013 incident occurred at a bearing of 072 degrees magnetic, 41 kms from Perth airport.
So, how do the two events stack up?
2013 incident - 072 degrees magnetic bearing and 41kms from airport. Time 0920hrs:
Object (1 metre) within 50 feet of aircraft registration VH-XKI , a DH8C Skippers Aviation aircraft on descent to Perth airport. “The rocket-like object (shaft) was observed to be attached to a parachute.” Altitude 6,800 feet. Event occurred at latitude 31 deg 49min south; longitude 116 deg 23mins east.
2014 incident - 022 degrees bearing and 23kms from airport. Time 0913hrs:
Green/grey, cylindrical shaped object passed within 20m horizontal and 100 feet vertical, of aircraft registration VH-XFX, a DH8C Skippers Aviation aircraft on descent to Perth airport. Altitude 3,700 feet. Object was travelling upwards when it passed the plane. Event occurred at latitude 31 deg 45mins south, longitude 116 deg 05mins east.
And with that, indeed, the two events, happened in the same, very small area to the north/east of Perth airport; and, as stated previously, both events occurred slightly after 9:00am on weekdays; both involved the same airline; and both events caused the pilots to manoeuvre their aircraft to avoid a possible collision. Based on the information now available on the two incidents, in my opinion, I would argue that the two incidents are very similar, and possibly linked in some way. But, not being aviation and air safety officials, we can probably do no more. Hopefully someone will get to the bottom of this soon.