Captain Rod Lovell, a Goolwa local, Pilot and author of 'Hero to Zero' came to visit Chiton Retirement Living to share his incredible story.
“Bureau of Air Safety Investigation (BASI) had 2 years. Sully had 208 seconds. I had 46 seconds.”
On the 24th April 1994, an aircraft on route to Norfolk Island was flown into Botany Bay only seconds after take-off, the plane was fully submerged within 15 minutes. Executing a perfect landing, the pilot saved all passengers and crew on board and was hailed a local hero.
Despite a safe landing by the pilot in charge, Captain Rod Lovell, was suspended and later lost his license, in what he calls a government cover up. He explains that that Aviation Accident Authority used him to pass the blame and cover up the real faults with the aircraft. Without being able to fly in Australia, he moved to America to regain his license.
"I effectively became the sacrificial lamb in a government cover-up to ensure blame was deflected away from those actually responsible for the safety of the airline passengers. Some years later the aircraft was proven to be unflyable." Rod says
Eventually Rod was able to clear his name and prove that the aircraft was faulty before he began the flight, proving that he made the right call. 25 years later he wrote and published a book ‘From Hero to Zero’ to speak out about the truth behind his experiences, his fight for justice and also to highlight his campaign to ensure fairness for future pilots who may encounter aircraft difficulties.