FSF Calls for Multinational Safety Probes

 - March 30, 2010, 5:15 AM

Citing ongoing criminal prosecution of Continental Airlines for the 2000 Concorde crash in Paris, the U.S.-based Flight Safety Foundation (FSF) is asking governments worldwide to form multinational, independent air accident investigation boards. The foundation has called upon an International Civil Aviation Organization “high level safety conference” to convene a group of legal experts “to urgently provide better protection of sources of safety information, including protection of witness statements and admissions of error against criminal prosecution, except in the most egregious of cases involving willful misconduct, drug or alcohol abuse or falsification.” Last month, the European Commission’s Council of Ministers urged creation of a “network of national state investigation authorities,” but the FSF said that would be “woefully inadequate” to meet the problems of disparate investigating capacity and expertise; tensions between safety investigators and judicial authorities; the unclear role of civil aviation authorities in safety investigations;  weaknesses in implementation of safety recommendations; and lack of common standards on passenger manifest and family assistance.