No sabotage in Double Six crash, declassified report confirms
12 April 2023
By Wartawan Nabalu news
KUALA LUMPUR: The federal government has finally released the declassified report on the Double Six tragedy, which killed 11 people, including five Sabah Cabinet ministers and then-chief minister Tun Fuad Stephens, in a plane crash on June 6, 1976.
The report, which was made public by Transport Minister Anthony Loke on April 12, 2023, confirmed that there was no evidence of any foul play or sabotage involved in the accident.
The report also concluded that the crash was caused by pilot error and poor weather conditions.
The report was based on the investigation by the Australian Department of Transport and Communications, which examined the wreckage of the Australian-made Nomad aircraft 9M-ATZ, which was carrying the Sabah leaders from Labuan to Kota Kinabalu.
According to the report, the pilot, Capt Gandhi Nathan, lost control of the aircraft and crashed into a swampy area in Sembulan, about 3KM from Kota Kinabalu International Airport. The report also revealed that the aircraft was overloaded with passengers and cargo, which affected its performance and stability.
The report also stated that there was a lack of communication and coordination between the air traffic controllers and the flight crew. The report also made several recommendations to improve the safety of aviation in Sabah and Malaysia.
According to the summary of the report: “The aircraft was on a flight from Labuan to Kota Kinabalu with one pilot and ten passengers on board. After having been processed by the Kota Kinabalu air traffic control, the aircraft was cleared to final to land on runway 20. On finals after having failed to acknowledge two landing clearances given by the tower controller, the aircraft went into a spin and struck the seabed in steep nose-down attitude killing the pilot and all ten passengers on board. The aircraft was substantially damaged beyond repair.
“The report concludes that the probable cause of the accident was due to a Centre of Gravity position well outside the aft limit which caused the control column to run out of forward range as the nose pitched up when the flaps passed through 25 degrees on the final approach to land.”
The declassification of the report was welcomed by the families of the victims and the people of Sabah as a gesture of transparency and accountability by the federal government. The report was also expected to end all speculation and controversy over the tragedy that has been dubbed as “Double Six”, named after the date of the accident.
Besides Gandhi the pilot, the victims involved were Tun Fuad Stephens (Sabah chief minister), Datuk Salleh Sulong (Sabah finance minister), Datuk Peter Mojuntin (Sabah local government and housing minister), Chong Thien Vun (Sabah works and communications minister), Darius Binion (Sabah assistant minister), Datuk Wahid Peter Andau (Sabah Finance Ministry permanent secretary), Isak Atan (private secretary to then-finance minister Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah), Kpl Said Mohammad (bodyguard to Fuad), Johari Stephens (Fuad’s eldest son) and George Mojuntin (Peter’s brother).
The full report can be accessed by the public via this link: LAPORAN AKHIR SIASATAN KEMALANGAN UDARA NAHAS PESAWAT SABAH AIR MODEL GAF N-22B NOMAD PADA 6 JUN 1976.pdf (mot.gov.my)