KUDAT - Investigators have begun to trace the last minutes of the MASWings Twin Otter that crashed into a house while making its approach to land on the Kudat airstrip.
A team of investigators led by Department of Civil Aviation's Flight Operations director Capt Datuk Yahaya Abd Rahman were at the crash site yesterday.
Unanswered questions include how Flight MH3002 veered off its landing path and crashed into the house during its second attempt.
One speculation is the aircraft might have been blown off course by strong crosswinds as the Twin Otter was not equipped with the advanced avionics found in bigger aircraft.
However, DCA director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abd Rahman told reporters that investigations were likely to take time as many technical aspects had to be ascertained.
The cockpit of the aircraft was badly mangled and the right wing ripped off. Pieces of the aircraft were strewn all around the house, whose two occupants managed to escape.
The aircraft with a capacity 19 people was carrying 14 passengers and was piloted by Wan Mohd Amir Wan Yahya, 56, who sustained head injuries in the crash at Kg Sen Sen.
Co-pilot March Joel Bansh, 22, died together with passenger Tan Ah Chai, 69, from Selangor, hours after they were admitted at the hospital.
Eight other passengers remain in stable condition at hospitals in Kota Kinabalu and here, while six others were discharged after observation, said Sabah health director Dr Christina Rundi.
MASwings chairman Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, who visited the house owner and also checked the crash site, had said that Capt Mohd Amir had over 4,700 flying hours and the aircraft was well maintained.
"We are extending financial assistance to our passengers and the families of the deceased. We have not made any decision on compensation at this time as our focus is the well-being of our passengers and the crew," said Ahmad Jauhari.
Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman extended his condolences to the families of the victims, saying: "Our prayers are with them."
In Putrajaya, acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the outcome of the investigation would be revealed to the affected families