Probe Begins Into Malaysian Air Crash Landing After Two Die

An investigation has begun after two people were killed and two others were injured when a Twin Otter DHC6 plane operated by Malaysian Airline System Bhd.’s MASwings unit crash landed in eastern Sabah state yesterday.

The plane had a total of 16 passengers and crew on board, the airline said in a statement today. The twin-engine turboprop aircraft, flying from Kota Kinabalu, landed short of the runway in Kudat at 2:50 p.m. local time. Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation is leading the investigation and the cause of the accident isn’t yet known, the carrier said.

“Malaysia Airlines together with MASwings are fully co-operating and assisting the investigation in every possible way,” the company said in the statement. “The Twin Otter was fit to fly and was in good condition before the accident.”

This is the first fatal plane accident in Malaysia since August 2009, according to AviationSafetyNetwork, a Netherlands-based website that tracks aviation safety statistics. The pilot of an Avcen Jetpod prototype was killed in that incident when the plane crashed immediately after takeoff during its maiden flight, according to the Network’s website.

Shares of Malaysian Air were unchanged at 34 sen as of 10:47 a.m. in Kuala Lumpur, underperforming a 0.6 percent increase in the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI Index.

“Whatever the cause, an air crash tarnishes the safety record of an airline operator,” Ahmad Maghfur Usman and Jerry Lee, analysts at RHB Capital Bhd., wrote in a report today. “It may affect consumer confidence on the safety of its services, which in turn can hurt the airline’s passenger loads.”

RHB said it is maintaining a neutral rating on Malaysian Air and fair value of 34 sen, pending investigation results.

Co-pilot Marc Joel Bansh, 22, and passenger Tan Ah Chai, 69, were killed, Malaysian Air said. The statement didn’t provide details of those injured.

Malaysian Air’s MASwings unit, started in October 2007, operates commuter airline services in the states of Sabah and Sarawak. The state-owned airline in December ordered 36 turboprop planes for its MASwings and Firefly units.

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