Plane Crash Essendon Fields Melbourne

This morning a plane crashed into a shopping centre built near the end of an airport runway at Essendon Fields, Melbourne, Australia.

This crash area was relatively recently simply a flat area of grass near the end of the runway.

A good outcome crashing into grass is not assured, but it’s usually better than a building.



Before the shopping centreessendon1945-3


Images from

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Dreamword – better to keep the ride

Ardent now say they will demolish the ride in this release to the Australian Stock Exchange.


I see that there may be good reasons for this decision.  Perhaps those close to the victims prefer that it be demolished.  Perhaps it has no commercial future as a place where patrons could find enjoyment.

But closing the ride while keeping it basically intact for at some time would better.  The demolition could be unhelpful in regard to learning from this accident.  Losing the ability to review this situation so soon relies on the initial accident analysis being perfect.  It might be perfect but then again it might not.  Secondly even if it is perfect, a demolition removes the opportunity for anyone else to read the reports on this accident with the benefit of standing in front of the machine in question.  In terms of preventing accidents, much more would be gained by others in the amusement ride industry or broader engineering accident analysis community if they have the chance to see the machine.  I spend most of my time looking at incidents that are several years old. Still having systems in place is generally a big help.

See Speculation about accidents is helpful, it’s just not enough (e.g. Dreamworld)

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Speculation about accidents is helpful, it’s just not enough (e.g. Dreamworld)

“Speculation is not helpful”.  Regarding accidents, YES, or NO?

On the NO side.  The Safety Institute says no. “Safety Institute of Australia calls for calm in relation to Dreamworld tragedy“.  Kevin Jones argues a similar theme.

I say YES. I see the point of the Safety Institute article.  I think it is to caution against jumping to a conclusion.  But the phrase “speculation is not helpful” caught my attention.
But when trying to work something out, speculation is helpful.  More than that, it’s vital.  Speculation is where it begins.  Possibilities need to be eventually evaluated – tested with science, engineering, logic, facts, analysis – but the process begins with ideas, guesses, hypotheses, questions, hunches – speculation.  A narrowing or testing of these possibilities is then needed.

While it is not a good idea to jump to a conclusion, it is a good idea, to consider many possibilities about where to jump in the end.  Speculation is what is needed, it’s just not enough on it’s own.


This photo is from The Straits Times @STForeignDesk

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“well you’re ?%$* out of luck”: Some thoughts on fatal injuries as a plaything for journalists.

“well you’re ?%$* out of luck”*.  This is a quote from Bernard Keane of Crikey as per the image below.  It’s not a particularly clearly articulated statement.  There could be some debate about what it means.  My reading is that it was an attempt to convey in the negative Crikey’s opinion of my suggestion that Crikey consider a retraction of this article.


My interest in it began here with a tweet from Kevin Jones.   It lead me to the Crikey article.  The article sought to create a link between the presence of the ABCC and workplace fatalities.  [Side notes: For some worthwhile reading on safety have a look at Kevin Jone’s blog. And see some history about the ABCC here.]

Crikey’s claim seemed to me to be a long bow.  This prompted me to conduct some research.  The graph below from the latest report from Safe Work Australia illustrates workplace traumatic fatalities across all injuries.

Safe Work Australia 2016, Work Related Traumatic Injury Fatalities, Australia 2015, Safe Work Australia, Canberra.

It shows that the rise in construction fatalities that followed the ABCC’s introduction in 2005 occurred more broadly.  It seems to me that the relationship suggested between the ABCC and construction safety may be the result of a confusion between causation and coincidence.

Consideration should be given to retraction of the article in my view for two reasons:

(a) Misdirection about the causes of workplace injuries can never be helpful.  It distracts efforts from useful interventions.

(b) And further, these statistics represent real people who lost their lives.  They are not a plaything to bolster a political augment with claims that are on shaky if any footing.


  • Expletive deleted


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Jobandeep Singh Gill imprisonment over Beckett family deaths – another predictable cross roads crash

Here is another example of a trap set by road neglect.  A cross road that looks like a straight road.  A driver falls into this trap and four people die.  The parties responsible for this arrangement?  The government.

These cross roads look like continuing roads from both directions.  It is easily fixed.  An offset intersection would do.  It is cheap especially in relatively flat land and in a rural area with little infrastructure to work around.

“A truck driver has been sentenced to 10 years in prison over the deaths of four members of the same family in a collision in Melbourne’s south-east last year.

Jobandeep Singh Gill, 28, failed to stop at an intersection at Catani in February 2014, hitting a sedan carrying five members of the Beckett family.”

ABC News

The crash was predictable.  The four members of the Beckett family were victims of a predictable event.  So is the next one.

In Victoria we waste money on advertising that blames drivers.  The Transport Accident Commission (the compulsory insurer) has been wasting money on advertising since 1989.  All it amounts to is “barracking” for less accidents.  Like barracking for a horse to win a race.

The advertising does not work.  Some claim it works temporarily.  No one claims it works 20 years later.

But if advertising money in 1989 had fixed this intersection by making it “offset” it would have been still effective in 2014, the Beckett’s would most like still be alive, and Gill would not be in jail.

Here’s another one where a truck nearly destroyed a school bus.



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Pyalong crash animation


Pyalong crash animation from 7 News.

Pyalong animation2 Pyalong animation3 Pyalong animation4 Pyalong animation5

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Wire rope termination East Link Melbourne




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