Report of the Board of Inquiry into the Helderberg air disaster

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Report of the Board of Inquiry into the Helderberg air disaster  (1990) 
by Cecil Margo et. al.
This is the official report of the board of inquiry into the crash of South African Airways Flight 295, an aircraft called the Helderberg, in the Indian Ocean near Mauritius on 28 November 1987. The board, which was chaired by Justice Cecil Margo, did not determine the cause of the fire which led to the crash. As a result various theories have since been advanced, including allegations that the Helderberg was illictly carrying military material and that the board was complicit in covering this up.

This Wikisource transcription is not yet complete; the original report may be downloaded from the CAA.

Report of the Board of Inquiry into the Loss of South African Airways Boeing 747 - 224B Combi Aircraft "Helderberg" in the Indian Ocean on November 28th 1987


The Hon. Mr Justice C S Margo [South Africa]

Board Members

Mr G N Tompkins, Jr [United States of America]
Mr G C Wilkinson [United Kingdom]
The Hon. Mr Justice H Goburdhun [Mauritius]
Dr Y Funatsu [Japan]
Mr L Lung [Republic of China]
Dr J Gilliland [South Africa]
Mr J J S Germishuys [South Africa]

Table of Contents

Volume 1 Page
Letter to Minister Submitting Report 1
Paragraph 6.11 of Annex 13 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation 2
Foreword 3 7
Aircraft Accident Report 8
Synopsis 8 11
1. Factual Information 11 118
1.1 History of Flight 11 16
1.2 Injuries to Persons 16
1.3 Damage to Aircraft 17
1.4 Other Damage 17
1.5 Personnel Information 17 24
1.6 Aircraft Information 24 28
1.7 Meteorological Information 28 29
1.8 Aids to Navigation 29
1.9 Communications 30 36
1.10 Aerodrome Information 36 37
1.11 Flight Recorders 37 42
1.12 Wreckage and Impact Information 43 66
1.13 Medical and Pathological Information 66 67
1.14 Fire 67 77
1.15 Survival Aspects and Search and Rescue 77 79
1.16 Tests and Research 80 89
1.17 Additional Information 89 110
1.18 Useful or Effective Investigation Techniques 111 118
2. Analysis 119 146
3. The USA FAA's Response to the Helderberg Accident and the Board's Approach 146 170
4. Findings and Conclusions 171 174
5. Causal Factors and Responsibility 175
6. Recommendations 175 178

Volume 2
Appendix "A" Plan of wreckage distribution 1 5
Appendix "B" Layout of interior of aircraft 6
Appendix "C" Details of wreckage items including report of manufacturer of engines 7 17
Appendix "C"bis Drawing of the lower aft fuselage structure (Target 244) 18
Appendix "D" Emergency check lists 19 20
Appendix "E" NTSB Safety Recommendations to FAA, May 16th 1988 21 24
Appendix "F" FAA's "Evaluation of Transport Airplane Main Deck Cargo Compartment Fire Protection Certification Procedure" 25 51
Appendix "G" FAA's NRPM, July 8th 1988 52 78
Appendix "H" FAA's AD 89-18-12 R1, August 10th 1989 79 83
Appendix "I" Oxygen supply selections 84
Appendix "J" Comments of NTSB on Draft Final Report 85 86
This work is in the public domain because it was created and first published in South Africa and it is an official text of a legislative, administrative or legal nature, or an official translation of such a text.

According to the Copyright Act, 1978, § 12 (8) (a), "No copyright shall subsist in official texts of a legislative, administrative or legal nature, or in official translations of such texts."