Australia grounds Mahindra's GA8 planes after Swedish crash

Australia grounds Mahindra's GA8 planes after Swedish crash

Emergency personnel unload parts of wreckage retrieved from the crash site at Ume river outside Umea
Emergency personnel unload a wing and other parts of wreckage retrieved from the site where GippsAero Airvan aircraft carrying parachutists crashed at Ume river outside Umea, Sweden July 15, 2019. TT News Agency/Erik Abel via REUTERS

MELBOURNE: Australia's air safety regulator has grounded operations of a small aircraft manufactured by Mahindra Aerospace for up to 15 days following a crash in Sweden that killed nine people earlier this month.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) said it had suspended operations of all GippsAero GA8 planes in Australia and all Australian-registered GA8 planes flying overseas from Jul 20 through Aug 3.

The GA8 single-engine aircraft, built in Australia by GippsAero, is typically used for skydiving, tourism, air patrols, medical evacuations and humanitarian missions in remote locations, according to Mahindra Aerospace's website.

An emergency services boat carrying wreckage parts arrives at a harbour near the site, where a smal
An emergency services boat carrying wreckage parts arrives at a harbour near the site, where a small sports aircraft with nine people on board has crashed at Ume river outside Umea, Sweden, July 14, 2019. TT News Agency/Samuel Pettersson via REUTERS

There are 228 GA8 planes worldwide, 63 of which are registered in Australia, CASA said.

Mahindra Aerospace, a unit of India's Mahindra and Mahindra, said CASA's move was precautionary during the preliminary investigation in Sweden, with which GippsAero was cooperating.

"The preliminary investigation has not identified the root cause of the incident," GippsAero Chief Executive Keith Douglas said in an emailed statement.

Parts of wreckage retrieved from the crash site are transported to the accident investigation team
Parts of wreckage retrieved from the site where GippsAero Airvan aircraft carrying parachutists crashed are transported to the accident investigation team at Umea Airport, Umea, Sweden July 15, 2019. TT News Agency/Erik Abel via REUTERS

Nine Swedes were killed when a GA8, dubbed the Airvan 8, crashed during a skydiving trip near Umea in northern Sweden on July 14.

CASA said it has been working closely with Swedish authorities and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), which has also issued an emergency directive to European GA8 aircraft owners and operators to suspend operations except for ferry flights.

Source: Reuters

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