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ATSB Investigates Tiger Moth Crash

Process Slowed By Discovery Of Asbestos In Firewall

In an odd twist, investigators looking into the Friday crash of a vintage biplane in Australia had to halt their work Saturday because a 1930s safety feature designed into the plane was declared a hazard to humans in later decades.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports John Fisher and David Oxley, both members of the Maryborough Aero Club, were fatally injured when the Tiger Moth biplane they were flying (similar aircraft pictured) struck trees shortly after take-off at Maryborough. When ATSB personnel arrived Saturday, one of their first discoveries was that the plane's firewall contained asbestos. The naturally-occurring mineral, known for its ability to insulate against heat and sound, is now considered a hazardous material due to its role in causing certain cancers.

The Courier cites police sources in reporting witnesses saw the plane burst into flames in trees at the northern end of the runway about 1700 local time. It's not clear whether the fire preceded the impact with trees. ATSB is expected to require up to a year to prepare a report on probable cause.

FMI: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Tiger_Moth

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