Aircraft accidents are catastrophic and unfortunate occasions that require a deft response from aircraft companies, local communities, and the government. Frequently, plane crashes generate levels of public and professional scrutiny not experienced by the administration until that time. Such incidences call for a quick response to the mishap because they place the company’s professionalism at stake.
Most aircraft accidents occur precipitously and unpredictably. Often, its victims are passengers and crew members and it might occur at places that are not easily accessible. If an aircraft accident occurs, the plane is likely to affect inhabitants on the ground adversely. A person may suffer a disastrous injury as an effect of being exposed to the jet explosion or having a direct connection with the aircraft part or parts, as well as being in or upon the aircraft or where the aircraft entirely burns out.
A major aircraft mishap can occur in the following circumstances: for instance, when a halted take-off transpires on a barred or involved runaway, an attempted landing on a shut or busy runway. It also happens when the engine burns out or in case of letdown to attain anticipated performance in the course of take-off. Those, as mentioned earlier, are mainly characterized by technical causes, natural and other hazards, terrorist attacks, and other forms of mass violence.
Classification of aircraft accidents relates to the subsequent procedure. First, it is defined according to the type of aircraft whereby there is freight, passenger, or military aircraft mishap. Second, it is classified as per the site of the accident where there can be a plane crash into the settled area, the sea, or accidents at a not indeed reachable site or within accessible areas. Finally, there is aftermath with two categories: namely casualties and environmental impact.
Ultimately, the management of the company is bestowed with the obligation of sustaining security and implementing safety standards in air transportation. Articulation of matters concerning emergency management should be a permanent and visible commitment. In the event an aircraft crash does occur, the company’s management should have procedures in place to assist them with responding to the crisis quickly and efficiently.
Similarly, the airport management should take rational steps as soon as possible to notify families, make required arrangements, keep them informed, and offer counseling. The company ought to support family members of those involved in the airport crash.
Reasonably, the company has a compulsion to acquaint its personnel of the aircraft crash as soon as possible following the incident. The staff includes persons working in legal counsel, public affairs, flight department, and press relations. After such notification, the company’s response team tackles the issue and communicates with the media regarding the accident. Communication by the response team reduces the probability of uninformed commentary.
Next, the workforce of the company should be organized to react to questions posed to them. For instance, they may be asked by aviation authorities, the general public, and the media relating to the aircraft involved, purpose of the trip and itinerary, and other related factors. In some circumstances, companies should refer the media to outside specialists if the request for information does not fall within their scope.
It is also the onus of the corporation to contact its insurance carrier instantaneously after the aircraft crash. Outstandingly, some insurance providers have their accident response techniques that may not align with the company’s disaster response procedures. The company ought to request for relevant information from the provider in relation to the accident.
Prudently, the company should not make remarks regarding the probable cause of the accident. Moreover, they should not comment on the investigation. Speculating evidence may adversely affect a company’s legal liability. Consequently, the company’s workforces seldom are experienced calamity detectives. They lack the exceptional specialty and relying on the information from the accident observers typically confuses the issue.
According to the US records office, the National Transportation Safety Board has the jurisdiction of analysis and finding of a likely root of the aircraft accidents. Any checkups concerning the apparent cause of a calamity should be referred by the company management to the Public Affairs Office at the Board of National Transportation Safety. The Board examines all questions about the aircraft and its contents, aircrew, and passengers. It similarly investigates the air traffic control personnel, local weather conditions at the moment of the accident, and any other significant issues. Finally, it makes and presents the formal communication.
The Board realizes requirements of the United States concerning foreign accident inquiries established by a treaty in the support of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). On the same footing, the Board directs qualified agents to take part in investigations in cases stipulated by provisions of the United Sates. In case of a major aviation accident, the Safety Board launches a go-team that shows a discrepancy in size depending on the severity of the misfortune and convolution of the matters involved. Usually, the team is comprised of an Investigator-In-Charge (IIC) and staff specialists. The Investigator-In-Charge is either the corporation or entity in charge of the entire exploration.
On the occasion of minor calamities with slight or no bodily harm, the National Transportation Safety Board may delegate this obligation to the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA’s purpose is to ensure that passengers stay alive after getting involved in a post-crash fire. It affords monetary support to companies for acquisition of substantial rescue firefighting equipment at the FAA’s qualified airports in the United States through the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). Through its research and development (R&D) program, “the FAA pursue cost-effective alternate approaches to advance the adeptness of rescue and firefighting services provided by airports” (Lindstrom & Stewart, 2008). The FAA has a principal obligation to improve values, benchmarks, and strategies on the execution of rescue and firefighting (RFF) services. The industry has representatives from the United States Air Force (USAF).
“The Emergency Services and the police as well take part in emergency management once an aircraft crash occurs” (Naylor, 2001). Normally, they are skilled persons that land the first at an aircraft accident spot. They offer professional help to lessen injury, loss of life, and ease loss of material goods through damage and fire. Prominently, local officials and the first responders obtain names and contact information from possible witnesses who are present. In relation to their specialization, they interrogate witnesses and discourage them from discussing the accident among themselves or with other persons. It can tamper with the evidence. Following the rescue effort, it is vital to preserve the evidence and unfold aspects that may have contributed to the accident.
Moreover, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), which is a self-governing association entrenched within the Department for Transport, investigates “civil aircraft accidents and serious incidents within United Kingdom” (Netjasov & Janic, 2008). Notably, it is separate from the Civil Aviation Authority. The Air Accidents Investigation Board operates in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organization Convention, European Union Council Directive, The Civil Aviation Regulations 1996, and The Civil Aviation Regulations 2005.
In carrying out its purpose, the AAIB strives to achieve the following in relation to aircraft crashes. First, it rapidly responds to solemn incidents and manages the accident investigation team to warrant their safety at the accident location. Second, it institutes and sustains operative working relationships with emergency service providers at accident sites and throughout the survey process. Besides, it conducts comprehensive, autonomous, impartial, and timely investigations into air accidents and serious incidents.
Profoundly, it considerately treats survivors and relatives of victims of air accidents. In addition, it assists them to recognize what has happened and learn possible steps implemented to avert similar accidents in the future. It is their responsibility to produce written and succinct reports with well-founded analysis and conclusions that explicate the situation and causes of accidents without attributing blame. Hence, it improves aviation safety in general by educating and disseminating lessons learned from accident investigations. Correspondingly, it certifies that the United Kingdom conforms to its national and international statutory requirements for the investigation of air accidents and incidents.
Noteworthy, the Inspector of Air Accidents works in conjunction with the Police and Emergency Services at the aircraft accident site. They have some influence that entails open access to the site of the accident or incident, the aircraft, and its contents. Correspondingly, they guarantee immediate listing of evidence and components for examination. They possess the authority to formulate measures for preservation of evidence and the right to access and utilize subjects of flight recorders.
The AAIB is responsible for the investigation of aircraft accidents when the aircraft crashes into the sea. In such circumstances, survivors from the aircraft that has crashed at sea are recovered to different shore-based locations and transported to different hospitals or reception centers. If survivors are in a position to record their experiences, they are given the AAIB’s passengers questionnaire to fill in. After that, a detailed list of survivors’ names and addresses are passed to the AAIB immediately. Bodies of the deceased are recovered from the sea to the shore-based mortuary for pathological examination. A specialized pathologist in matters of aviation should present a report to the AAIB team.
Floating debris are brought ashore and recovered during the phase of search and rescue. The AAIB inspector should be aware of all that. In relation to wreckage recovery from the sea, it depends on the size of the aircraft, depth of water, location, and sea condition among many other factors.
It is exorbitant to recuperate the wreckage. In some situations, the AAIB contacts the police, the aircraft operator’s underwriters, and the State of Registry to decide on sharing charges of reclamation. Sometimes, the AAIB may seek to recover only flight data recorders and vital parts of the aircraft wreck. Cases involving General Aviation aircrafts exclude the AAIB from recovering the debris. If it is appropriate or the wreckage poses a vulnerability to shipping, the aircraft owner or aircraft insurers have the liability of conducting the recovery.
In case the aircraft remains afloat, the operator may wish to rescue possessions with the estimation of restoration and the AAIB affords support. The AAIB can as well reclaim the aircraft if it sinks. In circumstances when the aircraft wreckage is noticeable from and close to the shore, the AAIB Inspector makes local provisions for the police diving team to attach ropes to the shards and have them hauled ashore.
In cases when the wreckage is practically anticipated to be discernible at low tide or from a surface vessel, inspectors may board special vessels for visual or echo-sounding examinations. These vessels are skillfully handled to conform to the suitable health and safety legislation. Examples of such vessels are Coastguard vessels, Royal Navy vessels, and police launches.
Bodies recuperated in or near flooded aircraft wreck are also convalesced. Presence of police officers is essential to monitor transference of bodies to the morgue ashore. The AAIB uses indispensable equipment like a handheld receiver and a towed hydrophone array to perceive and trace transmissions. During recovery processes, flight data recorders are retrieved to provide applicable information in connection to the investigation.
The media ought to stay out of boundaries of the safeguarded area if they arrive at the crime scene before the AAIB or military authorities. There are measures implemented to prevent the news media aircrafts or helicopters from hovering over or adjacent to the accident area. Likewise, the media are not permitted to take photographs of deceased persons. With assistance of the police, the AAIB provides access and appropriate area to the media in order to assist them with taking photographs. At the appropriate time, the media give a short factual briefing. Members of the police and emergency services should not give information that is outside of their area of expertise in case the media try to obtain information from them. The AAIB will not release to the public or the media names of the crew, passengers, the aircraft owner, or the operator.
In conclusion, it is evident that emergency management is attainable after a major aircraft crash occurs. It is responsibility of aircraft companies, local communities, and the government. Efforts are put to recover injured persons, the deceased, the wreckage, flight recorders, and any other necessary material during the aircraft crash. Different organizations and entities take part in the investigation process. They include, but are not limited to the Federal Aviation Administration, Investigator-In-Charge, the American National Transportation Safety Board, the International Civil Aviation Organization, local police, local communities, and the media. Members of each organization have diverse responsibilities in the process of aircraft crash investigation and emergency supervision.