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Accidents and serious incidents (commonly called Immediately Reportable Matters), which affect the safety of aircraft must, in the first instance, be notified to the ATSB by telephone toll-free call: 1800 011 034 or fax (02) 6274 6434.

NOTIFICATION TO GFA: In addition to the above statutory requirement, it is a GFA requirement that Immediately Reportable Matters are also reported to the GFA Executive Managre, Operations (EM/O) or the Chairman of the Operations Panel (COP) at or around the time they are reported to ATSB.   The telephone contact details for the EM/O and COP can be found on the GFA website.  The EM/O or COP will notify the appropriate GFA officers and the Regional Manager Operations of the relevant Region.

The GFA also requires notification to the EM/O of all ‘Routine Reportable Matters’ and those accident and incidents that are not required to be reported to ATSB.

ONLINE REPORTING: A secure Safety Occurrence Reporting Portal is to be used to notify the GFA about all aviation safety occurrences.  This system automatically advises the ATSB, thereby ensuring our statutory obligations are met.  Reports will also be automatically copied to the Regional Managers and Club’s Chief Flying Instructor. Detailed instructions on how to use the system can be downloaded from this link.

OFFLINE REPORTING: In those circumstances where access to the GFA’s Safety Occurrence Reporting portal is impracticable, members can use a hard copy paper form which can be downloaded from the GFA website and sent to the GFA office for entry into the Safety Occurrence Reporting portal. 

FURTHER INFORMATION: Accidents and serious incidents are required to be immediately notified to the ATSB in accordance with section 18 of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003.

Written notifications are required to be submitted within 72 hours of an accident, serious incident or incident in accordance with section 19 of the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 and Regulation 2.6 of the Transport Safety Investigation Regulations 2003. The written notification should contain as much information about the accident, serious incident or incident as is within the knowledge of the person at the time of submitting the notification.

Submission of information known by the reporter to be false or misleading is a serious offence under section 137.1 of the Criminal Code. Aiding, abetting, counselling, procuring or urging the submission of false or misleading information is also a serious offence.

An immediately reportable matter is a serious transport safety matter that covers occurrences such as accidents involving death, serious injury, destruction of, or serious damage to vehicles or property or when an accident nearly occurred. Under section 18 of the TSI Act, immediately reportable matters must be reported to a nominated official by a responsible person as soon as is reasonably practical.  The list of immediately reportable matters is contained in the TSI Regulations.

: A routine reportable matter is a matter that has not had a serious outcome and does not require an immediate report but safety was affected or could have been affected. Under section 19 of the TSI Act a responsible person who has knowledge of a routine reportable matter must report it within 72 hours with a written report to a nominated official.  The list of routine reportable matters is contained in the TSI Regulations.   Routine reportable matters include a non-serious injury or the aircraft suffering minor damage or structural failure that does not significantly affect the structural integrity, performance or flight characteristics of the aircraft and does not require major repair or replacement of the affected components.

WHO MUST REPORT AN AVIATION ACCIDENT?  Under the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003 and regulations, the owner, operator or crew of the aircraft must report the accident immediately to the ATSB.  However, sometimes the owner and/or operator may not learn of the accident until sometime after the event.  The crew may also be unable to notify the ATSB due to personal injuries. Therefore, anyone learning of an aviation accident should report the accident to the ATSB immediately, as well as alerting emergency services as required.  While the ATSB does not investigate all accidents and incidents, you should notify the ATSB of all aviation accidents and serious incidents involving civil registered aircraft.

ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION:  Generally, the ATSB does not investigate sports aviation accidents or those involving amateur built or experimental category aircraft. The ATSB will inform the Gliding Federation of Australia and the police that the ATSB is not investigating. The police will normally coordinate the accident investigation. Consequently, the ATSB will not attend the scene or conduct an investigation.

COORDINATING WITH POLICE INQUIRIES:  The police may wish to utilise the expertise of the Gliding Federation of Australia to assist their investigation.  The GFA contacts are the Executive Manager Operations (primary contact), the Chairman of the Operations Panel and the Regional Manager Operations.

PROTECTION OF AIRCRAFT WRECKAGE:  The ATSB understands that police and emergency services personnel need to take immediate action when arriving at the scene.  However, it is important that wreckage, ground scars and the accident site are disturbed as little as possible. This will ensure that investigators are able to determine the factors that contributed to the accident.   

REMOVAL OF AIRCRAFT WRECKAGE:  When an accident occurs, the aircraft is deemed to have come into the custody of the Executive Director of Transport Safety Investigation and it must not be moved except with the permission of the Executive Director or authorised representative.  However, where the ATSB has informed the GFA that it is not investigating, Police authority is required to remove the wreckage.

DEALING WITH THE MEDIA: The media have a job to do and deserve access to certain information in order to do that job. However, for their own safety they must remain outside the secured area. Names of casualties are not to be given to the news media.  This information will be released by the appropriate authorities and this will happen only after next of kin have been informed.  Investigators will not provide access to the media to photograph survivors or deceased persons. Care should be exercised in the use of mobile telephones or radios to discuss the accident or the personnel involved as the media may be capable of monitoring communications frequencies.

POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD): This may occur not only in flight crew associated with the Accident/Incident, but witnesses, relatives, friends and club members. It has been noted that Clubs have been deeply affected after such occurrences, in some cases straining the viability of the organisation.   The following resources are listed for the information of Clubs, Instructors and members wishing to find out more about PTSD as part of their risk management:

·        Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

·        Coping with a critical incident

Support for Clubs and members affected by PTSD can be found at the Lifeline Service Finder.