Desmond Boomer

Desmond Boomer

A 38 year old Belfast born engineer working in the Libyan oil fields

Michael Williams

Michael Williams

A 49 year old English born engineer

Matthew Aquilina

Matthew Aquilina

A 22 year old Maltese national returning to Malta

Tadeus Gorny

Tadues Gorny

A 48 year Polish national working in the Libyan oil fields

Phillip Farrugia

Philip Farrugia

A 43 year old Maltese national returning to Malta

Carmel Bartolo

CArmelo Bartolo

The pilot, a 47 year Maltese national


Aviation Incident Enquiry - Court Of Enquiry 05 June 1996

Chairman: Dr. Philip Sciberras LL.D.

Members: Pilot Franz Sturmeir
                Mr Louis Giordimaina

Date: 5th June 1996

Aviation Incident Enquiry - Court Of Enquiry 05 June 1996

Chairman: Dr. Philip Sciberras LL.D.

Members: Pilot Franz Sturmeir
                Mr Louis Giordimaina

Date: 5th June 1996

Evidence of Mr Edmund Mangion

Dr Borg Barthet: Mr Mangion what is your occupation and your rank?

Mr E Mangion: A Control Officer in Charge at the Air Traffic Services.

Dr Borg Barthet: And you know what this enquiry is about and what can you tell us about what happened, were you on duty on that day?

Mr E Mangion: Yes on that night I was on duty.

Dr Borg Barthet: The night was?

Mr E Mangion: 3rd December if I am not mistaken 1995

Dr Borg Barthet: You can refer to your notes.

Mr E Mangion: We were expecting Piper 9 Bravo Uniform from Djerba we received estimate message from Tunis, estimating our area at 0411 and this aircraft never got there. We waited for 30 minutes, we had contacts from Tunis they never had contact with the aircraft, they asked if we had contact and after some time we gave them some, of course it was a stormy night, we waited for about an hour than we started our

Dr Borg Barthet:  For how long?

Mr E Mangion: For one approximately one hour that's haIf an hour after.

Dr Borg Barthet: What did you do after that one hour?

Mr E Mangion: We started the procedure of trying to establish communications with however was in contact with this aircraft. We asked of course, Tunis, Djerba, Tripoli control and the island of Lampedusa perhaps the aircraft diverted there and everybody replied in the negative.

Dr Borg Barthet: Did you get a report that the aeroplane was expected from Djerba or from Tunis?

Mr E Mangion: From Djerba.

Dr Borg Barthet: Was it Tunis that communicated with you or was it Djerba telling you?

Mr E Mangion: It was Tunis control with the parent ACC.

Dr Borg Barthet: And when you established that the aircraft did not communicate with Tunis, Djerba, Tripoli and Lampedusa what did you do after that?

Mr E Mangion: We treated the flight as a regular communication failure, it doesn't mean that anything happened, it did not maintain communication and then when after an hour when we had nothing seen on radar we started the alerfa. Alerfa that's the alert phase.

Dr Borg Barthet: So the alert phase started at what time?

Mr E Mangion: 0518

Dr Borg Barthet: And what does that mean in simple terms?

Mr E Mangion; Alerting the agencies involved, like traffic services, tower controls, search and rescue, that is what we do when any craft we thing might be in difficulties.

Dr Borg Barthet: Did you have any further communications? What time did you finish your tour of duty

Mr E Mangion; At seven in the morning.

Dr Borg Barthet: Between 5.18 and 7.00 did you have any further communications?

Mr E Mangion: With the aircraft?

Dr Borg Barthet: Or with the traffic control?

Mr E Mangion: We went through the whole procedures, I telephoned my senior air traffic controller, Mr Fenech. The DCA and even Mr J Sultana the rescue co-ordination centre it was by BSM Dalli, I contacted and he relayed.

Dr Borg Barthet: Did you have further communications from Tunisia or from Lampedusa etc.?

Mr E Mangion: Yes it was a confirmation on the teleprinter of no contact.

Dr Borg Barthet: Were these communications recorded?

Mr E Mangion: Yes of course.

Dr Borg Barthet: And are they still available?

Mr E Mangion: I assume so yes.

Dr Borg Barthet: Would you have them or who would?

Mr E Mangion: Personally I do not have them, the office might have them.

Dr Borg Barthet: When you on duly when the aircraft left Malta?

Mr E Mangion: It left in the afternoon before I went on duty.

Dr Borg Barthet: So you wouldn't know anything about what state it was in before it left Malta?

Mr E Mangion: No, actually we do not see the aircraft itself, we are far away from the apron.

Dr Borg Barthet: Have you handed in copies of these communication to the DCA for instance?

Mr E Mangion: Of course.

Dr Borg Barthet: Just a point of clarification, the timings you gave us, are you quoting local times or are you quoting GMT?

Mr E Mangion: I assume it is GMT that is local time is plus one.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: In this particular morning weather radioed was woming as well in your department

Mr E Mangion: We do not have weather radar in our department.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: So on your return on the radar for this particular traffic would you have identify a light aeroplane with all that where around?

Mr E Mangion; On the approach radar no but on a short range radar and on the area radar it doesn't depict any weather information and if the aircraft is using the transponder we can get contact say hundred miles or so, it depends on the altitude.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: So the aircraft was equipped with a transponder?

Mr E Mangion: Yes.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: Do you know what was the squawk out of Tunis?

Mr E Mangion: No we never managed to inform or rather to instruct the aircraft to transpond, because we never had contact.

Dr M. Pace: Mr Mangion is it unusual for a monitoring to take place of such flights of a light aircraft? In other words when you have a plan of such an aircraft is it unusual for contact to be made even when the aircraft is still on the runway of the nearby take off?

Mr E Mangion: In Malta?

Dr M. Pace: Yes. Have you ever made contact with such aircrafts before actually taking off from the departure point?

Mr E Mangion: We never made contact with 9 Bravo Uniform. ‘

Dr M Pace: Not this particular aircraft, I am saying in general?

Mr E Mangion: It is usually before they start off that we have contact.

Dr M Pace; So normally before a flight takes off you would have contact with the aircraft at the other airport.

Mr E Mangion; As it takes off from Malta.

Dr M Pace; Not Malta the other airport?

Mr E Mangion: No.

Dr M Pace; From the departure point of the airport?

Mr E Mangion: No.

Dr M Pace: This is not done?

Mr E Mangion: No it is not the usual thing. We only have contact with aircraft which are entering our area.

Dr M Pace: When you mentioned the contact, usually on what frequency or channels do you make contact?

Mr E Mangion: VHF contact we use the area frequency 1287 Megahertz,

Dr M Pace: 1287?

Mr E Mangion: 128 decimal 7 that is the area in frequency.

Dr M Pace: And that's it?

Mr E Mangion: There are the secondary frequencies and the HF but that's the main VHF frequency.

Dr M Pace: You mentioned the radar has short range.

Mr E Mangion: The approach radar has short range.

Dr M Pace: Could you specify clearly what is the range?

Mr E Mangion: Of the approach radar it is calibrated to within 40 and a haIf miles radar, 40 nautical miles, but we never expect to have contact with a light aircraft at that time on the approach radar,

Dr M Pace: In this particular case the FIR boundary is at what range on the normal flight plan of this particular

Mr E Mangion: Exactly I am not sure but I would say 120 nautical miles, where we expected the aircraft to enter.

Dr M Pace: Apart from the approach radar and the VHF communication do you have any other means of communication or monitoring of such aircraft?

Mr E Mangion: Yes we have an area radar which is primary and secondary radar and we usually make a good contact with the aircraft inbound, it depends always on the altitude.

Dr M Pace: Could you specify and give us some more details as to what range and so on?

Mr E Mangion: If the aircraft is flying at high levels, fairly high levels or within 35 thousand feet we can have radar contact with both primary and secondary at about 150 nautical miles, sometimes even more. Now if the aircraft is low level the range can be reduced to say 100 miles.

Dr M Pace: In this particular case, according to the flight plan indicated at what height would this aircraft have been flying, or expected to be flying?

Mr E Mangion; Nine thousand feet.

Dr M Pace: In the past this aircraft has flown to and from the same destination a number of times, do you have any records of at what range at what proximity you have managed to make in actual fact contact in the past?

Mr E Mangion: No records as such we do not keep.

Dr M Pace: Wouldn't you log every contact?

Mr E Mangion; No because this particular aircraft, is a small aircraft and it is expected that the contact is less, how would you say. The radar detects lighter aircraft at a lesser range because of the surface area of the aircraft.

Dr M Pace: You said you had made contact after an hour or so had elapsed from the expected time of arrival is that correct? You started making contact with the relevant authorities and other stations.

Mr E Mangion: From our side yes.

Dr M Pace: Did you actually make contact with the Tunisian authorities, what was the outcome of that?

Mr E Mangion: In fact it was they themselves who called us.,

Dr M Pace: At what time?

Mr E Mangion; At about 0430 GMT that is 0530 local time.

Dr M Pace: And what was there communication?

Mr E Mangion: They reported that the aircraft did not report at the boundary. Did not report exiting their boundary.

Dr M Pace: Did they confirm this communication in writing, by fax or by some other document?

Mr E Mangion: Yes.

Dr M Pace: Are you in a position to exhibit this document?

Mr E Mangion: No they are at the office.

Chairman: Have you handed in copies also to the DCA

Mr E Mangion; The DCA have the whole thing, all the records.

Dr M Pace; So will the department be exhibiting them?

Chairman: It is either the department or you yourseIf can come some at other time and exhibit these records.

Dr M Pace; Could you arrange for these to be submitted, OK.

Chairman: If they are going to be exhibited by some other witness than that is all right.

Dr M Pace: You have just told us Mr Mangion that in actual fact the Tunisian authorities mentioned that the aircraft did not make contact at the exiting boundary did they indicate the last time at which contact was made?

Mr E Mangion: Not then, but later I knew that the aircraft never made contact after departure no then they did not mention anything about communication.

Chairman: For us mortals can you please explain what is the exiting boundary?

Mr E Mangion: The area space is divided by an imaginary line it is by 11.30 East that the boundary between Malta and Tunis.

Dr M Pace: Would it be possible to indicate for the clearer appreciation by everyone concerned the exact boundaries between Malta, Tunisia, Libya.

Mr E Mangion: I have a copy of the Malta Air Space.

Dr M Pace: So the closest point you are saying is a 120 miles more of less.

Mr E Mangion: Yes more or less.

Dr M Pace: That is with the Tunisian airspace or the Libyan airspace?

Mr E Mangion: That is on the route proceeding from Malta to Djerba. Because the other distances, to the east it's 500 nautical miles.

Dr M Pace; So the exiting boundary you confirm is 120 miles in this case?

Mr E Mangion: More or less, flying from Djerba.

Dr M Pace; So you stated earlier that the only contact made with the aircraft was when the aircraft actually took off, did they confirm the exact time of departure?

Mr E Mangion: Yes the aircraft departed at 0346 that makes it 0346 local.

Dr M Pace: And that was the only communication effected in actual fact to the aircraft just moments before take off.

Mr E Mangion: With Malta we never had contact.

Dr M Pace; No. Did the Tunisian authorities indicate to you that they had made contact with the aircraft on departure and only on departure?

Mr E Mangion: Yes, and only on departure.

Dr M Pace; So contact would have been made at 0346.

Mr E Mangion: I assume it is the take off clearance.

Dr M Pace: And you stated that the Tunisian authorities than contacted you at 0530 hours local time, which is practically two hours later. In such circumstances is it normal for there not to be any further contact for two hours before any alarm being raised or any suspicion that something could have gone wrong or whatever. For two hours we are saying from 0346 local to 0530.

Mr E Mangion;  No, it is not normal

Dr M Pace: It is not normal for there to be such a long time. So if the aircraft had taken off from Malta and upon take off at 0345 you had not heard from the aircraft for what, haIf an hour, an hour what would be the procedure normally?

Mr E Mangion; If the aircraft did not report on the transfer point it is the responsibility of the aircraft, because in that particular area of the FIR it is not controlled, it is outside controlled air space, and it is the aircraft's responsibility to make contact with us with the ACC. Sometime they manage to have contact right away, maybe on this particular night because of the weather, or perhaps the aircraft deviated slightly the first thirty minutes it was accepted.

Dr M Pace: The first thirty minutes, then what is the procedure normally after this?

Mr E Mangion: We go into the radio communication failure in reserve, that's uncertainty phase, alter phase and then the disperse phase.

Dr M Pace; When you made contact with the Tunisian authorities did they confirm that they had gone through all these procedures, or did they just state that they had made contact at take off.

Mr E Mangion: Actually it is there responsibility to start initiating the phases.

Dr M Pace: But did they confirm that they had actually carried out?

Mr E Mangion: Yes they started first by telephone direct links, telephone line, then afterwards through normal communications.

Dr M Pace; Are you aware of what radar equipment or other monitoring equipment the Tunisian authorities have and to monitor flights from there?

Mr E Mangion: No I don‘t know.

Dr M Pace: Isn’t there an overlapping, the boundaries, I take it that the boundaries are split up in certain areas with responsibility to various countries according also to the capability of monitoring the situation. 

Mr E Mangion: I do not think that there is a radar at Djerba.

Dr M Pace; And would any other radar in the vicinity from Panteleria I or somewhere else be in a position to indicate or to pick up, to follow the flight at all? 

Mr E Mangion: I do not know.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: Mr Mangion you mentioned that after the aircraft got airborne they lost radio contact.

Mr E Mangion: With us the aircraft never made contact.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: But what you said earlier on that Djerba lost contact he did not contact them after departure.

Mr E Mangion: He was expected to call at the FIR boundary.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: Nothing, so he could have vanished after take off not just in flight.

Mr E Mangion: Yes it could be.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: And you have to take from Tunis or the departure

Mr E Mangion: I do not know.

Dr Christian Farrugia: Could you explain for our purposes the usual procedure of communication from departure point to arrival point. In other words what exactly happens from the departure of an aircraft till it arrives to its point of destination. The usual procedure not what happened in this case.

Mr E Mangion: Usually after take off clearance they will be given the initial route to intercept an airway or to go like in this case a direct routing to a navaid, the aircraft usually reports either that it has reached the level or passing the level requested.

Dr C Farrugia: What do you mean, you must understand that I am a layman in these matters.

Mr E Mangion: The altitude it is a clearance, the aircraft is clear to fly at a certain altitude and the ACC or controller requires to know whether the aircraft is still on decline or at steady flying and the aircraft usually make a report on reaching that altitude.

Dr C Farrugia: And in this case no report was made?

Mr E Mangion: As far as I am concerned no.

Dr C Farrugia: Please continue.

Mr E Mangion: Then the aircraft reports the ACC procedure, it depends a lot on the position reports of the aircraft and the estimates plus the estimates of the ACC that is the Area Control Crossing.

Dr C Farrugia: So was a flight plan logged with Djerba authorities?

Mr E Mangion: Yes.

Dr C Farrugia: And was this flight plan communicated to you?

Mr E Mangion: Yes.

Dr C Farrugia: And you are in a position also to show this?

Mr E Mangion: Yes it is with the other documents.

Dr C Farrugia: From your calculations do you have an estimate of where the aircraft may have disappear? You mentioned a time but is it also possible to indicate an area where it might have happened?

Mr E Mangion: The area is quite vast it is somewhere between Djerba and Malta.

Dr C Farrugia: But based on flight plan, based on the timing.

Mr E Mangion: It is not possible. Because the aircraft was flying in an uncontrolled area and he could deviate from that route without prior clearance.

Dr C Farrugia: Is it possible that the aircraft never actually departed? Never left Djerba.

Mr E Mangion: I don't know about the security in Djerba.

Dr C Farrugia: From your end it is not possible to determine this?

Chairman: How can he answer that question.

Dr C Farrugia: I tell you why, because there is a possibility also of the communications which have passed from the Djerba authorities and Malta. If it is possible to determine this from the documentation that they have in hand.

Chairman: How can he answer this, he has already told us that the Tunisian authorities contacted him and told him that it departed from Djerba at 0346 hours, so it must have departed at least.

Dr C Farrugia: So the documentation has been passed on so as far as you are concerned.

Dr M Pace: To rephrase what was asked to you just now. Do you have any independent communication apart from the Tunisian authorities that that aircraft took off at that particular reported time?

Mr E Mangion: Other than the air traffic system, no.

Dr C Farrugia: You also mentioned that you made contact with various stations, other authorities and so on, would these include also, could you give us a list of which stations?

Mr E Mangion: Tripoli ACC, Rome ACC, Lampedusa and of course Tunis and our own ACC.

Dr C Farrugia: Was any attempt made in the circumstances to ask the military authorities based at Sigonella or nearby whether they picked up any trace.

Mr E Mangion: It is usually not done by us, usually it is between the local military rescue and other military rescue bases.

Dr C Farrugia: So yourselves at the department did not make such verification or contact.

Mr E Mangion Not directly, no.

Dr J Brincat: Answering a previous question you mentioned that the aircraft could possibly deviate from the flight line. Now do you recollect in connection with this particular aircraft that there was a previous occasion when you were on duty and there was a deviation from the flight plan and the aircraft actually arrived from the Libyan airspace and not from the Tunisian airspace, do you recollect this incident?

Mr E Mangion: Yes.

Dr J. Brincat: Can you expand on this.

Mr E Mangion: It was a night flight from Djerba, the aircraft was like I said late, I do not know if it was thirty minutes or twenty minutes.

Chairman: We are talking about the same aircraft?

Mr E Mangion; Yes but months before.

Chairman: But it was piloted by the same person?

Mr E Mangion: I do not know the pilot but I remember the aircraft the registration of the aircraft.

Chairman: All right go on.

Mr E Mangion: Coming out of (change side of tape)

Dr J Brincat: You said months back am I correct in saying that this was during the embargo regarding any aircraft flying over Libyan airspace.

Mr E Mangion: If I am not mistaken the embargo is destination Libya not overflying.

Dr J Brincat: Do you have registered somewhere that instead coming from Tunis it actually came from Libyan airspace?

Mr E Mangion: About the previous incident?

Dr J Brincat: Yes.

Mr E Mangion: No.

Dr J Brincat: So this was your personal memory or do you remember it but you did not inform your superiors or in writing that it actually deviated from the flight plan.

Mr E Mangion: No it was not logged. Same thing because all that area is uncontrolled airspace, there are no air routes, navigational routes.

Dr J Brincat: But it was definitely coming from Libya?

Mr E Mangion: Yes from Libyan airspace.

Dr J Brincat: Regarding documents we are in a position to state that Mr Hamruni of the Consular Office in Tunisia, in Tunis actually, stated to one of my clients that the Maltese Government has not even requested the full documentation that is available to the Tunisian authorities in the investigation that was carried out and all the documents there. We can confirm that we are requesting, and this was done even in the presence of officials from the Embassy of Malta in Tunisia,

Chairman: You mentioned Mr Hamruni, is he at the Tunisian Embassy?

Dr J Brincat: He is in the Tunisian Consular Office of the Foreign Office in Tunisia. This request has to be made through a note verbal from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs so this documentation may come or else otherwise it will not be delivered to anyone.

Chairman: As we go along we will see what records are available.

Dr J Brincat: They are not available to us, the exist, I am indicating the source of evidence, what I say is hearsay.

Chairman: Just one other question, you told us that the time of departure from Djerba was 0346 local time.

Mr E Mangion: 0346 is GMT, local time is 0446.

Chairman: Such aircraft, when is it expected after departure to reach the exit boundary, from Djerba from where it left?

Mr E Mangion: Fifteen or twenty minutes.

Chairman: Unless of course it deviated?

Mr E Mangion: Yes.

Chairman: If I recollect correctly the Tunisian authorities got in touch with you, when they informed you that it did not reach the exiting boundary hours later?

Mr E Mangion: I have to make a correction, the aircraft departed at 0346 and was expected at the FIR boundary at 0411 that‘s twenty five minutes after departure and we where informed by the Tunisians that the aircraft did not reach the boundary at about twenty minutes later.

Chairman: After it should have reached the FIR boundary?

Mr E Mangion: Yes.

Dr Malcolm Mifsud: With regards to incoming flights would you know the flight plan of the incoming flight?

Mr E Mangion: Usually yes.

Dr Malcolm Mifsud: And when is this communicated to you?

Mr E Mangion: The flight plan usually flies at least haIf an hour before departure.

Dr Malcolm Mifsud: In this particular case was one submitted?

Mr E Mangion: Yes.

Dr Malcolm Mifsud: Can you indicate which flight plan, over which airspace, territorial seas it was going to pass through?

Mr E Mangion The flight was expected to pass straight from Djerba to Malta.

Dr Malcolm Mifsud: With regards to this incident that you mentioned during the deviation area on the uncontrolled airspace, that there was a deviation from Libya in a previous flight, would you be possible to give us the dates of such?

Mr E Mangion: No.

Mr Malcolm Mifsud: An indication when?

Mr E Mangion: No, I just remembered because it was mentioned to me.

Dr Malcolm Mifsud: A couple of months ago, one two three four?

Mr E Mangion: It could be one two three or four, I do not remember.

Dr Mizzi: I would like to make a point not to ask a question because we have evidence and Mr J Sultana: will present that contact was made twenty miles off Djerba and then the aircraft said that it would communicate again on reaching the boundary which it never did so there is communication until twenty miles off Djerba and this is evidence which Mr J Sultana will produce.

 Chairman: This will be produced by some other witness.

Dr Mizzi: Yes but I want to correct what has been said so far that no contact was made except that on take off.

Chairman: All right we are going to evaluate all the evidence that is recorded here.

Dr Mizzi: If you want to loose time, 

Chairman: It is not a question of loosing time, it is just that any person can put any pertinent question that he wants to put in. We are a Board of Enquiry.

Dr Mizzi: The questions are being put to someone who doesn't know that.

Chairman: All right, there will be another witness who will tell us in your opinion what would be the exact details and facts.

Dr Malcolm Mifsud: I would like to point out, with due respect, that it may be opportune at this point if the evidence which the DCA has and documentation available, was specifically the tape recording of the messages between Djerba and the aircraft in the met office report on the weather conditions on that particular day and time and all the necessary information to be produced at this early time to give an opportunity for everybody to evaluate on the basis of which we can than ask more pertinent questions without deviating.

Dr Borg Barthet: it’s agreeable.

Dr Malcolm Mifsud: We are examining matter which can be settled very easily by documentary evidence.

Chairman: Just a moment do you have any more questions to put to this witness.

Dr Borg Barthet: How many miles would an aircraft have to deviate to go into a Libyan air control space on that route?

Mr E Mangion: Not a lot.

Dr Borg Barthet: By not a lot what would that be a hundred miles, twenty miles?

Mr E Mangion: No I would say that on a direct route a direct line it just crosses the boundary where our three air spaces coincide.

Dr Borg Barthet: So a deviation of ten miles would take him into Libya

Mr E Mangion: Yes Libyan airspace.

Dr Borg Barthet: And you are exhibiting the plan.

Chairman: The plan is being marked Dok. EM.

Evidence by Mr J Sultana

 In the Department of Civil Aviation

Chairman: In what capacity?

Mr J Sultana: As Director Operations 

Dr Borg Barthet: As Director Operation in the Department of Civil Aviation your duties are what?

Mr J Sultana: I am the second highest official in the Department and I am specifically responsible for looking after the fields of air traffic control, tire fighting on the airport, operation and transport, meteorology, broadly speaking because in the department there are other heads of section who are experts in these fields. I also deputise for the Director when he is away. On that particular day of the incident in question in fact the Director was about to go abroad and in fact I would have been deputising for him that day but obviously because of the incident the Director General stayed to look after the proceedings. 

Dr Borg Barthet: Do you have any documents to produce on this particular flight?

Mr J Sultana: Hearing the evidence that has just been given by Edmund Mangion who was on duty during the morning of the incident in question, he was asked to produce a sort of map to show the airspace concerned and I have in my possession a map which was going to be used by the Armed forces people to explain the search and rescue operations done, that were undertaken during the following days.

This map could be accepted as evidence. It indicates the airspace of the Malta Flight Information Region the Tunis Flight Information Region and the Tripoli Flight Information Region. It also shows the airdrome of departure which is Djerba and although it is not indicated one can easily put the route which would have been followed according to the flight line and on that route as was explained also by Mr Mangion before me the director route would have taken the aircraft very close to the point where the three FIR boundaries sort of meet. One can see from the actual map what the lie of the FIR boundaries is.

Dr Borg Barthet: So that is your first document that is being exhibited?

Mr J Sultana: Yes but it has to be later used by the Armed Forces.

Chairman: It is being exhibited as Dok. JS1. Are you in a position to indicate the route that would have been followed by flight plan?

Mr J Sultana: Provided that I have a pencil and a ruler. I have marked in pencil the route direct from Djerba to, what we call the Gozo VOR, which is the main navigation rate and that is normally how aircraft fly and in red I have pencilled the boundaries of the Tripoli with Malta and the Tunis FIR, the sort of common boundaries.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: On this particular morning of the event was the aircraft direct to Luqa or direct to Gozo?

Mr J Sultana: That question I think would have to be answered...because here there is evidence which has to come up from many many sources and I am not necessarily knowledgeable on certain details, I think that detail would have to come from Mr Mangion himself.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: From the Tunisian authorities who gave the aircraft clearance to go direct to Malta?

Mr J Sultana: I have with me after the department had asked earlier the Tunisian authorities for the transcript of the radio communications between the aircraft and the Djerba Tower and this I can present also as evidence.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: Is there any questioning of flying direct to Malta?

Mr J Sultana: In fact on the clearance that was given to the aircraft by the Tunisian Control there is an entry at 0344 where control is saying to the aircraft "Clear to destination Malta via Mike Lima Golf, FIR direct Mike Lima GoIf level 090 so that would confirm that that would be it. 

Pilot F. Sturmeir: During this particular morning we had a Grigal, very strong winds, now we are talking about Easterly winds at about 80 to 100 knots what were the winds at this particular morning, could the aircraft have drifted into the Libyan airspace?

Mr J Sultana: I would leave that question to the expert on that. I have not looked directly at the winds. There is a photocopy of the telefax message which was received from the Tunisian authorities and it was received at the department on the 11th of December 1995 following our request of the 5th of December.

Chairman: So that is a transcript of the communication?

Mr J Sultana: Yes, obviously this would have been written up, and it is also written by hand incidentally, it would have been written up after hearing the person who transcribed it, after hearing the tapes which are at Djerba, They are the property of the Tunisian authorities whether they are still available we do not know what the procedure is but perhaps they might use the same.

Chairman: Would you have told them to hold on to those tapes?

Mr J Sultana: No. We simply asked for the transcript and we got it.

Chairman: So that is going to be exhibited as Dok. JS2

Dr Borg Barthet: You also have I see a transcript of the Malta Tower communications.

Mr J Sultana: Yes, The communications that we have with Tunisia and which were carried out on the direct telephone line between our air traffic control unit and the Tunis air traffic control unit not with Djerba, with Tunis, they are recorded, the tape was impounded after the incident and eventually the tapes are still available and they could be heard but today they can only be played back on our own equipment because it is a special type of equipment, but they have been transcribed by the Assistant Senior Control Officer who is also available to give witness and certify this, he is Major Robert Buttigieg.

Chairman: So that is going to be exhibited as document JS3.

Mr J Sultana: On the 8th of April we also received from the Tunisian authorities after requesting them on the 11th of March. A copy of the meteorological report that was prepared by the meteorological officer who briefed the pilot of 9HABU in Djerba this was received at the department on the 8th of April. This is going to be produced. 

Chairman: This is going to be exhibited as Dok. JS4.

Dr Borg Barthet: Do you have the flight plan recorded at Djerba.

Mr J Sultana: The flight plan sent by Djerba.

Dr Borg Barthet: The flight plan given by Bartolo to the Djerba authorities.

Mr J Sultana: No we do not have a copy of the flight plan form as handed in. Normally these forms are an A4 size which I can produce so that the Court will know what we are talking about, but in actual fact what we normally get and what we have in our records, and I can produce a photocopy of it, is the flight plan message that is received on the radio teletype inter network.

Dr Borg Barthet: Could you produce it please?

Mr J Sultana: Yes. For the information of the Court I am submitting a photocopy of the flight plan so that you would know what the flight plan is when it is submitted on paper form and this is the flight plan that was submitted when the aircraft departed Malta on the pervious evening.

Chairman: Dok. JS5,

Mr J Sultana: Aeronautical fix telecommunications network message by which the flight plan is shown.

Dr Borg Barthet: What other documents do you have in your possession to be of interest to this enquiry?

Mr J Sultana: At the moment I can present the copy of the flight plan which includes the supplementary flight plan information and this flight plan data was transmitted at 0715 local time that is after the distress phase was initiated and detonations were requested by Malta probably on the radio to transmit the flight plan information and they transmitted this full flight plan.

Dr Borg Barthet: Does that include the manifest?

Mr J Sultana: No this is only where it gives you the aircraft type, the point of departure and the time of departure the route the destination airdrome the time for the crossing and the supplementary information consisting of, which is not really correct, as it is transmitted and there is an explanation for it.

Dr Borg Barthet: Could you tell us what it is?

Mr J Sultana: The thing is that on this supplementary information there is included an indication that the aircraft had UHF radio and survival equipment consisting of polar, desert and jungle which does not make sense for an aircraft flight of this type because it is not flying obviously neither on the jungle, neither desert nor the polar and if one looks carefully at the flight plan which I submitted before, this the written flight plan the aim that the pilot gave this information on the outbound flight which presumably is the same man that was later did the flight from Djerba to Malta he crossed out the polar survival indication, her crossed out the desert survival indication he left the maritime indication clear and he crossed out the jungle so I presume that the Tunisian authorities took the crosses as the ones that were indicated as being carried, were as the reverse was to apply and that is the only way that it would make sense.

(Question out of reach) 

Mr J Sultana: Yes. Well if he had that habit he would have continued with the same way.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: Now does that mean that he has an ARB on board if he hasn't crossed it out?

Mr J Sultana: Yes it would mean that he would have and ARB.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: Is it normal that he has an ARB?

Mr J Sultana: It is not a requirement by law but from what we also were told by people who knew the pilot when we were carrying out the search and rescue it was taken that he usually carried an ENT but as I was saying before no the survival equipment one can see that the crosses are on the polar, desert and jungle the maritime being the one which is clear so it is quite possible.

Dr Borg Barthet: What does the S stand for?

Mr J Sultana: S would mean survival equipment, it means that he had a survival equipment it is of this type and they had jackets which were light and florescent.

Dr Borg Barthet: So you will be exhibiting also this document. 

Mr J Sultana: Yes the supplementary flight plan information because this is the requested information after the incident.

Chairman: Dok. JS6. That was the flight plan sent by the Tunisian authorities?

Mr J Sultana: It was sent by the Tunisian authorities on AFTN at our request because normally and I will present it later the flight plan which is transmitted prior to the flight does not contain the last couple of lines which gives the supplementary plan flight information because normally it is not required for air traffic control purposes. It is only required when an accident on an incident takes place and you need that information.

Dr Borg Barthet: What further documentation do you have?

Mr J Sultana: I can present AFTN an Aeronautical Fix Telecommunications Network message which was transmitted by Djerba to Malta giving the flight manifest of the aircraft and it gives the names of the people on board and this was transmitted on the 3rd of December at 1025 GMT of 1125 local time and it was received according to the information on the message itseIf for some reason the time is recorded as being 1319, why there is this time lapse I am cannot reply at this moment. 

Chairman: Dok. JS7.

Mr J Sultana: This is a flight manifest for the aircraft which was communicated by the police immigration authorities at Djerba and it was communicated at 1010 hours GMT I which is 1110 local time on the 3rd of December and it was sent by the police in Djerba by fax.

Chairman: Dok. JS8. 

Mr J Sultana: I have here a photocopy of the air traffic control log book for the 3rd of December and part of it is for the 2nd as well but on the 3rd of December one notices that at 0518 hours GMT an alert phase message is entered by the previous witness who was Mr Mangion and later on at 0601 GMT which is 0701 local time the distress phase is logged as having started.

Chairman: Dok. JS9. 

Mr J Sultana: The certificate of awardness of the aircraft which is certificate number 66/1 which was issued on the 15th of January 1992 and which has got a last entry made on the 19th of January 1995 and certifies that the aircraft is considered to be awardy obviously at the time, and the certificate was renewed for the period of 16th January 1995 to 15th January 1996 and therefore this means that the certificate of airworthy of the aircraft was valid at the time of the incident.

Chairman: Dok. JS 10.

Dr Borg Barthet: Who certifies that?

Mr J Sultana: The entry is made by the Director General of Civil Aviation after the aircraft is examined by the board of surveyors who are advisors on air worthyness matter. So normally what happens is that the aircraft is examined together with its documentation and maintenance documentation surveyor makes his recommendations and on the basis of that recommendation if there is nothing untoward the recommendation is a straight forward one and one can renew the certificate of awareness. This is the aircraft radio station licence which is a normal radio licence issued by the Wireless and Telegraphy. It includes as part of the licence a list of equipment which the aircraft is equipped with. The list state that the aircraft had 2 VHF communications it had an automatic direction founder, it had an lLS indicator together with a VO1, a DME and it had also a transponder which is normally operated in conjunction with the secondary surveillance radar and it had a storm scope which is a general aviation aircraft equipment used to give a general indication. As far as I know it is not a very precise instrument set as the one that is carried on board airliners and it shows the presence of thunderstorms and it had an R Nav equipment as well as a lower M equipment. 

Chairman: Dok. JS 11

Mr J Sultana: I have here a certificate of registration dated or issued on the date of 15th January 1990 and this was the date when the aircraft was first registered in Malta.

Chairman: Dok. JS 12.

Mr J Sultana: I have here a fax which was sent by Tunis on the 17th of February although it bears the date of receipt as the 19th of February I suspect that the difference is that the fax arrived at a weekend but in this fax there is a statement by the Chief Inspector of Accident Investigations in Tunis in which it is stated that the pilot had been in the Meteorological Office briefing office of Djerba twice, once at 2000 hours GMT on the 2nd of December and later on on the 3rd December at 0300 hours GMT where he went in for a briefing, a first and a second briefing and it says that he looked at the weather as well from the weather satellite system he looked at the matter and the tubs but he did not take the meteorological report which the briefer had prepared. He told the briefer that it's all right and he left. This is a statement made by the Chief Inspector of Accidents presumably taken from the meteorological briefer himself. 

Chairman: Dok. JS13.

Dr Borg Barthet: If I may say the 17th of February was a Saturday. Any further documents please?

Mr J Sultana: Lastly I present a document which was requested from the United States Federal Aviation Administration as we did not have in possession in the department a record of the licences which the pilot had and we knew that the pilot had a United States Private Licence was the Federal Aviation Administration Office in Rome to send us all the data which they had and they transmitted by fax a computer record which shows that the pilot had a commercial pilot licence with aeroplane monthly engine land and instrument aeroplane commercial pilot and aeroplane single engine private pilot it also states that the pilot was also a flight instructor and he could exercise that the privileges of a flight instructor when the certificate itseIf was accompanied by the pilot certificate itseIf and then there is on the same computer date a data information about, personal information about what the individual and also medical date that he had undergone the medical on the 13th of May 1995 it’s a clear certificate with no limitations

Chairman: Dok. JS 14.

Dr Borg Barthet: Am I right to say that this particular aircraft was not maintained?

Mr J Sultana: The aircraft was a single engine aircraft, it was equipped with one engine.

Dr Borg Barthet: Are you in possession of the Tunisian tapes on the Tunisian side or do you only have the transcript?

Mr J Sultana: We only have the transcript, evidently tapes being material are rarely handed over and we did not even request the Tunisian to send us the tapes, we asked them to send us because this is the normal procedure that is used between authorities and this in fact they sent which I have already submitted.

Dr Borg Barthet: From the transcripts of the tapes sent by Tunisia when was the last time they made contact?

Mr J Sultana: According to the transcript the last time that the aircraft was in touch with the Djerba control was at 0358 GMT when the aircraft 9HABU transmitted the message saying BU, Bravo Uniform, estimate FIR boundary at 10 which means that he is estimating to be at the FIR boundary at 0410 GMT and the control at Djerba states or replies 0410, he is asking confirmation, reading back and the aircraft 9HABU says 'affirmative' or affirmative this could be a translation probably because in Tunis it is a Franco phone country. Control then replies Roger that is message received and understood 'call reaching which means call when you are at the boundary and the aircraft replies BU will do, the aircraft is saying that he will comply. Then from 0408 onwards, that is 0408 is just one minute practically before the aircraft is due to report at the boundary if it had reached that point and the control asks 'BU Djerba position 9HABU Djerba, 9HABU Djerba, 9HABU Djerba‘, and it goes on to 0410.14 with control asking 9HABU Djerba and then the next line read 'BU Roger you change with Malta' now considering that there is no contact from the aircraft that could probably taken 'BU Roger you change with Malta' it does not make much sense so it could be taken that it is Djerba assuming that the aircraft can listen but it cannot transmit and it is just simply saying you change with Malta at that time.

That line does not make sense and then if one looks at the transcript for the communications between Malta and Tunis, if my memory serves me right, at 0438 or 0435 that is 25 minutes later the Tunis control starts to ask Malta weather Malta is in touch with the aircraft and that is the first time when Malta is asked weather the aircraft had communicated. So it is taken that there are no more communications with the aircraft even after this time either wise I would have thought that the Tunisians would have included them in the transcripts. So the last actual message which was transmitted by the aircraft took place when the aircraft was estimating to be ten minutes away from the boundary which at a speed of normally 130 knots of 140 knots depending on the wind, but normally for that aircraft it is in that region you can say that the aircraft was at that time about 20 miles away from the boundary, that is 20 miles inside the Tunisian FlR

(Question out of reach) 

Mr J Sultana: From the transcript at 0357 that is one minute before the last exchange of communications the aircraft stated that "9 Bravo Uniform I am 20 miles DME I will call you at the FIR boundary" so that is 20 miles, DME I take to be Djerba

Dr Borg Barthet: I would have to look at the radio charts. I should think that there is a DME at Djerba.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: But I’m not to certify that because if he calls at line 0 and 20 miles DME from Djerba I don't believe he can climb in 20 miles to line 0 with a laden aeroplane, so was it Lampeduza who said?

Mr J Sultana: Let me say this, the previous witness was asked whether there was a radar facilities in Djerba, to our knowledge there are none and even in Tunisia the main airport they have only recently installed a new radar, previously up to probably December they still had an old radar with about a range of 50 miles which would be very unlikely that it would have covered them so here and even going on what was said by the previous witness about the capability of our radar to see an aircraft at low distance and at a relatively low altitude one can deduce that in that area for that type of aircraft you were really at the most talking about procedure and control if you are giving control which was not because in that area it is simply uncontrolled air space so at the most you are giving flight information service which consists of meteorological information, indications about other aircraft so there was no control.

If there was controlled airspace you would be using what is know as procedural control which again means that the controller depends entirely on his knowledge of the aircraft position on the position reports given by the pilot of the aircraft. So there is no way of confirming if in such circumstances if the pilot reported 20DME whether he was DME at that point or not because there is no radar to confirm it.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: I’m to refer to the documentation now which I have a few questions on like I do not have in my hands the manifest from Malta to Djerba, the crew hasn‘t a manifest is it available. 

Mr J Sultana: That is available, it was not presented because we took into consideration the flight from Djerba to Malta so the main information that was collected and that has been presented relates to that flight.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: Why I am asking is were any of the passengers interviewed then, like was the pilot ill, was there any comeback from the passengers?

Mr J Sultana: No.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: They were not interviewed at all?

Mr J Sultana: No.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: Do you think that there would be any evidence from them and the office condition of the whether or was he wanting to fly back the same night to Malta, that‘s why he went to the met office twice.

Mr J Sultana: He went to the Met office twice so that indicates a certain urge to come back to Malta, as regards the passengers we can try and trace the passengers. If we do not have the manifest in our position I think that the police will have records and they could be made available and they should have addresses as normally passengers are allowed out of the country with the embarkation card.

They should have addresses and perhaps they can be contacted.

Question by Dr  ..... Perhaps it this information is available preferably to them

being interviewed by the authorities they should be brought before the enquiry directly, in other words if they do exist I would very much prefer that this is done.

Mr J Sultana: I can contact the police and see weather they have the full information available and pass it to the Court for further action as the Court deems necessary.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: Is the Met office closed after midnight in the airport they shut down and report back at six o’clock in the morning, local met office. During that night of the incident with the Grigal and with the whether conditions so there was no signal sent or transmitted to any other stations that we had whether conditions around Malta of that nature? 

Mr J Sultana: I will not reply to that question if you may permit, although I do not understand it either, are you saying that Malta did not report the conditions about the whether.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: You close your met office here at mid-night and you open again at six o'clock in the morning.

Mr J Sultana: If you are talking about our Met office it is open 24 hours. I presume you are referring to that 'watch closed' that I presume but I think that the question should be really made to the witness such as the one who testified before me, I thing that refers to the APC watch. This is a copy of the air traffic controllers log book were they lob any significant occurrences. I take it that watch closed, I take it that it is an extract from the air traffic control log book.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: Looking at the documentation the aircraft was registered in a public category and it was flown in a private category. 

Mr J Sultana: I presume so.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: Because your licence here says that the gentleman, the pilot is only allowed to fly both the engine aeroplanes but not single engine aeroplanes is that correct?

Mr J Sultana: The privileges which the USFAA had given to the pilot were, if I remember right, I do not have that in front of me, that the pilot had commercial pilot privileges limited to multi engine aeroplanes so that under US law he could fly as a commercial pilot on multi engined aeroplanes. As far as single engine aircraft is concerned he was only authorised to fly for private pilot privileges. The same statement that is written here it also says that he could use the instrument rating privileges on both multi engine and single engine aircraft categories. 

Pilot F. Sturmeir: Which licence was he flying on this particular morning on the FAA or on a Maltese licence?

Mr J Sultana: In our records Mr Bartolo does not have a Maltese licence, he does not have either a validation of his American licence so on the basis of this documentation he could only fly the aircraft for private privileges because in Malta we recognise the Private Pilot Licence privileges of any foreign licence they are recognized automatically and there is no need for a validation from our department. It is the department procedure that if a pilot was to operate for commercial purposes hew has to be issued with either a commercial pilot licence by the Department of else he is given a validation If his foreign commercial pilot licence.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: It has flow in private category or in a private category?

Mr J Sultana: That is something as to what the nature of the flight was. We do not know, the only way of knowing is to ask the n passengers themselves, obviously that is no possible of people who presumably where connected with the arrangements for the flight.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: So what you are saying is that it is normal to have a Maltese registered aeroplane that it can fly with a different kind of licence?

Mr J Sultana: In what sense? 

Pilot F. Sturmeir: It was nine hotel were as he can fly it with an American licence.

Mr J Sultana: In fact in Malta ever since the department was set up in 1968 and the Department never issued any private pilot licences and people who wanted to fly as private pilots had to go abroad and obtain private pilot's licences from abroad and our legislation which is the air aviation order the licence issued which gives the private privileges which is issued by an lCO contacted state, he is automatically recognised as valid so the person consemed can fly a Maltese registered aircraft without requiring anything.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: So he was correct in flying flight 990 under these conditions even that his instrument rating was not received at the time?

Mr J Sultana: The document which we obtained from the FlA states that he could use the instrument rating privileges.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: Those were endorsed prior to the incident?

Mr J Sultana: We have always accepted that a person who has a private pilot licence that is automatically accepted by Malta. We have never had a policy of not recognising any associated rating such as the instrument rating so since the department never in any case issued anything to the contrary an instrument rating with a private pilot licence could be used by a pilot.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: If he had this American licence is there a medical also? 

Mr J Sultana: There is a reference to the medical certificate.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: Is it available?

Mr J Sultana: The medical certificate would have either been with the pilot, obviously he would have had a copy or the original and a copy might have been with the FIA unless it is a computer record. 

Pilot F. Sturmeir: You do not hold copies?

Mr J Sultana: No. But it is stated on that computer record that the medical certificate was dated 30th May 1995.

Dr Borg Barthet: Can you tell us how long the medical certificate is valid for?

Mr J Sultana: For private pilot purposes it is valid for twelve months if the is over the age of 40 and normally it is two years in the case of pilots who are under the age of 40 unless there is something indicated otherwise in the actual certificate. I do not recollect the exact age of the pilot but it is included on the personal information sheet and that could be deduced.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: When Tunis lost radio contact with the aircraft in question by having only the last statement as bravo uniform do you identify the loss of receiving signal or a distress?

Mr J Sultana: There is nothing, from the transcript of the Tunisian authorities the last message was quite clear 'bravo uniform will do' will comply with your last instruction of reporting on the boundary so that communication appears to be quite normal. Now weather after that communication there was a complete toss of communication the events seem to indicate that because there was no further communication with the aircraft either with Tunisia or with Malta.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: Because his reader was load and clear through out the event until the loss of contact at 4.10 he only managed to say uniform not his full oode sign or what his intentions were of change over. 

Mr J Sultana: If you notice most of the time in the transcript particularly from 0356 onwards he is either using the bravo uniform which is the abbreviated call sign which is sometimes used or more often then not used. Sometimes he is using 9 bravo uniform. The more important parts of the calls in itseIf in my opinion are bravo uniform weather you say 9 hotel bravo uniform or 9 bravo uniform, if there is no other aircraft at the time with the air traffic control unit operating then which has another aircraft with a call sign which has got the last two letters bravo uniform, normally that aircraft is left to give the call sign as bravo uniform, lf there is another aircraft with a call sign which has the last two letters identical normally it is air traffic control procedure and I would presume that the Tunisians would assume this procedure they would then tell the aircraft please use 9 bravo uniform.

Dr Borg Barthet: What I find very strange is that in most of the transcript he is either using BU or 9BU, except the last word in the transcript the full word uniform, which is quite odd when you see the rest of the transcript.

Pilot F. Sturmeir: I already told him that, was he already in distress then?

Mr J Sultana: This is what I cannot understand, this is why I say that the last entries do not make much sense. Even it is normal ETC procedure that the VHF frequency of the next station to be used is given to the aircraft and the aircraft acknowledges that message to change frequency by repeating the frequency itself. The fact that there is no such indication that Tunis control told him to contact precisely on frequency 1287 it gives me the impression that this may not be correct, they may have been uttering from the ETC and I would not really accept that uniform, that last line, it does not make much sense, I think and it is also normal practice in at least, from my very limited experience in flying light aircraft, it is normal practice that when you are about to be transferred from one control unit to another and you had good communications with air traffic control unit A and then you are told to transfer to air control unit B even you find that the control unit B there communications you cannot establish them for any period of time you normally also try and keep contact with the previous one which you had before and to keep those communications for as long as possible until you establish communications with control B. Not unless you have lost contact with everyone of course. This is why I have some doubt about that last item.

I think Captain Sturmeir is referring to the transcript, the last complete exchange of messages is the one at the top of the second page at 0358. Up to there it is quite all right then there is at the last page on the last two line there is an entry Djerba telling, sorry between 0408.47 to 0409.50 Djerba is trying to establish communications without any success. Then at 0410.14 Djerba tries again, 9HABU this is Djerba, there is no reply and then control says Bravo Uniform Roger, when you say Roger it means that I have understood your message, you now change with Malta, and then last entry it is the light aircraft apparently it is replying Uniform, the reply is uniform if there was reply.

Uniform could be and the way that it is written it tries to convey that that there is a reply from the aircraft, uniform, which is not in any case the normal thing. Uniform happens to be the last letter of the aircraft registration but the aircraft pilot is using all the time either 9 bravo uniform, or bravo uniform. It is also important to remember that when you are passing call signs on the radio you are not going to say BU, the way that it is written here, BU Roger you change with Malta, they will say, bravo uniform you change with Malta, so it does not make sense if there is previously to report. On the boundary the aircraft says, bravo uniform will do, and then the last entry is simply, uniform. You would have to hear the tape to really asset weather there was really an entry. 

Pilot F. Sturmeir: The controller called him for two minutes, numerous calls and are you telling me that in those two minutes the last call was only, uniform?

Mr J Sultana: No. What I am saying is that in the transcript the way that it is written one will End, BU position, BU Djerba position, BU estimate FIR boundary. The last entry in the transcript reads, uniform, all the transcript of the radio itself one is always going to hear, uniform, or, bravo uniform, you will never hear, BU. 

Pilot F. Sturmeir: Did you hear the tapes?

Mr J Sultana; No. This is a transcript of the tapes as given by the Tunisian authorities obviously if one queries any part of the transcript as to its corrects, I think that one has to hear the tapes.

Chairman: Have you ever requested copies of those tapes? 

Mr J Sultana: No. Normally and I suspect, I do not know, that they would have standard recording equipment similar to the ones that we use, it will be multi channel type equipment, it may not necessarily be compatible with ours so it would probably be useless to even ask for the actual tapes. What you can ask for at the most is a recording of the tapes of a standard tape and then you can hear that but there could be losses in the information as you are transcribing from one tape to the other.

Chairman: But if you did not request a copy of those tapes can you tell the Tunisian authorities to hold on to those tapes?

Mr J Sultana: No. We asked for the transcript because as I said earlier it is usual procedure and I do not know if the Tunisians still hold the tapes or not, they might.

(Tape out of reach)

What we can do is to contact the Tunisian authorities and confirm weather the tapes are still held so that if it is decided that someone should hear the tapes than we know that they are available.

Dr Borg Barthet: Your honour if I may make a comment, it is apparent here that as we have no eye witnesses to this incident, the information that we have at the moment is rather scanty in itself. There seems to be a number of reservations I regarding the transcript which has been produced here and I think that it would be fundamental to hear the tape, the relative tape or a copy of the tape, recording the conversation between the pilot and the Tunisian authorities and I think that we should insist on this.

Mr J Sultana: But I think that to hear the tape one would have to proceed to Tunisia or to Djerba.

Question: Could it not be recorded on some other cassette?

Mr J Sultana: It might loose some things and the thing is just hearing the tapes in that case it would not be sufficient if one is querying the evidence as to weather the air craft actually left Djerba or not than the only way to collect that evidence would be to ask for a testimony from the controller who was on duty at Djerba at the time. Again one will hear what he has to say so you have to accept the reliability of that witness So this is a question of what reliability you are going to give to witness.

Dr Borg Barthet: In fact there is an area, the last peace which says, BABU Roger, did you ask for an explanation? 

Mr J Sultana: No.

Chairman: Dr Barthet do you have any further questions? So shall we leave that for tomorrow.

Transcribed By

I declare that I have transcribed truthfully and faithfully and to the best of my ability and knowledge the transcription of this tape.

Antonia Rina Mamo


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