Charity flight operator's fatality rate seven times higher than private planes

Community service flights conducted by a charity group have a fatal accident rate seven times higher than other private flights, an investigation has found.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau says its probe of the Angel Flight service after two fatal crashes in the past decade has found its pilots and passengers are being exposed to much higher risks.

In June 2017, a leading Adelaide businessman was flying a mother and her daughter to Adelaide for medical treatment when their Angel Flight plane crashed near Mount Gambier, SA, killing all three.

All three on board the Angel Flight plane died when it crashed at Mount Gambier, SA, in June 2017. Source: 7 News

The tragedy came after a pilot was transporting a 15-year-old girl from a medical appointment in Melbourne to her home in Nhill when their Angel Flight aircraft came down in bad weather killing them both in August 2011.

At the control was experienced pilot Donald Kernot from Yarrawonga, who volunteered time and resources to help fly sick and injured people around the state.

"Angel Flight did not pressure pilots to fly in conditions beyond their capability, but some circumstances can lead a pilot to feel pressure anyway, such as the responsibility to fly unrelated ill passengers to meet medical deadlines," ATSB chief commissioner Greg Hood said on Tuesday.

The ATSB investigation came after a pilot and two passengers were killed when an Angel Flight service crashed at Mt Gambier in July 2017.

with AAP

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