A second fatal air force accident was not formally investigated by health and safety inspectors.

The second failure emerged yesterday as the State Services Commission launched investigations into another Royal New Zealand Air Force crash, on Anzac Day 2010.

The Herald revealed the inquiries yesterday after Crown Law Office advice found workplace safety officials should have investigated the deaths of the three servicemen killed in the accident.

Officials at the former Department of Labour, now the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise, did not investigate because they thought it was the Civil Aviation Authority's job. The CAA told the department it was not its job, meaning nobody outside the RNZAF looked into it.

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The source of the problem appears to be conflicting instructions dating back to 2003 - although the agencies were bound by a 2005 agreement to resolve any confusion over responsibility.

A ministry official yesterday confirmed there had been no investigation by workplace safety staff into the death of Squadron Leader Nick Cree, who died in a flying accident three months before the Anzac Day crash. He said CAA staff assisted the air force inquiry.

That means the deaths of four air force staff went without formal health and safety reviews.