NTSB adopts revised post-crash guidelines, cites media pressure

WASHINGTON, DC: In the hours following a plane crash, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the affected airline often struggle independently to handle the media crush. But under guidelines expected to be formally unveiled this week, the NTSB will attempt to foster greater post-crash cooperation with airline PR staffs.

WASHINGTON, DC: In the hours following a plane crash, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the affected airline often struggle independently to handle the media crush. But under guidelines expected to be formally unveiled this week, the NTSB will attempt to foster greater post-crash cooperation with airline PR staffs.

WASHINGTON, DC: In the hours following a plane crash, the National

Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the affected airline often

struggle independently to handle the media crush. But under guidelines

expected to be formally unveiled this week, the NTSB will attempt to

foster greater post-crash cooperation with airline PR staffs.



’What this means is that the PR people of the airlines and the NTSB will

be talking early and often during a crash, so there’s no confusion or

animosity in dealing with the news media,’ said Air Transport

Association VP for communications David Fuscus.



The new guidelines acknowledge that airlines face ’increasing pressure’

to respond to the news media following a crash, and that the NTSB, often

criticized for the glacial speed at which it disseminates information,

does ’not wish to prevent an airline from assuring its customers,

employees and the general public of their concern for the victims and

their commitment to aviation safety.’



The guidelines were forged in the wake of last year’s crash of an

American Airlines McDonnell-Douglas MD-80 in Little Rock.



Controversy erupted when American Airlines exec Bob Baker held two news

conferences at which ’factual’ information was presented about the

crash.



Eleven people died in the tragedy.



The NTSB, which is the official investigative body at a crash scene and

the only source authorized to release factual information, had not yet

reached any conclusions about the incident.



NTSB chairman Jim Hall promptly wrote a letter to American chairman

Donald Carty criticizing Baker’s news conferences. Carty responded that

American’s reputation was at stake and the carrier did not want to

appear evasive.



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