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Personal Injury Law: Columbus Personal Injury Lawyer
Immediate Airplane Crash Investigation
By Scott Smith
Using a combination of information from government organizations, Smith Phillips - Trial Lawyers immediately investigates all the events and circumstances surrounding a major aviation accident. Depending on the crash, our investigation could include gathering published news articles surrounding the incident, the accident record of a particular aircraft, airline or airport, detailed weather conditions at the time of the accident, or past fines or other sanctions imposed on the subject airline. While this information in no way substitutes for a detailed analysis of a crash by trained investigators and analysts, it is a start to preserve evidence.
Immediately after the crash, there may be one or more news sites with details of the circumstances of the accident. For an accident in any part of the world, CNN is a good starting point. If the accident is in the U.S., involves a U.S. carrier, or has substantial numbers of Americans on board, other useful sites include:
â?¢ USA Today (www.usatoday.com)
â?¢ The New York Times (www.nytimes.com)
â?¢ MSNBC (www.msnbc.com)
â?¢ ABC News (www.abcnews.go.com)
â?¢ CBS News (www.cbs.com)
â?¢ Fox News (www.foxnews.com)
All of these sites offer immediate details about the crash such as the airline, aircraft, number of passengers and crew, casualty estimates, weather conditions and damage or casualties outside of the aircraft. The Web sites of newspapers or television stations in the vicinity of a crash may also have information that is not available on the larger media sites. One way to locate these sites is to use one or more search engines to identify the newspaper, radio or television station Web sties from the area or the crash.
If the crash was in the U.S. or involved an aircraft registered in the U.S., the FAA would be able to provide additional details about the aircraft and the even the first working day after the accident. The FAA provides preliminary information on the last ten days of the crash and incidents. This source provides basic data such as the number of occupants, the number of deaths, the number and severity of injuries, aircraft registration number, and a brief description of the crash. The data from this site can be used to search U.S. government databases for the past events involving the same aircraft model, the particular aircraft or the same airport. If weather may have been a factor, review the following:
â?¢ Accuweather at www.accuweather.com for local weather conditions at the time of the event
â?¢ The National Center for Atmospheric Research at www.ncar.ucar.edu
â?¢ The Weather Channel at www.weather.com for current conditions in selected cities throughout the world
â?¢ The USA Today at www.usatoday.com/weather
â?¢ The Weather Underground at www.wunderground.com
Immediately after an accident in the U.S., the first two places to look are the NTSB database and the FAA incident database. The Web site of the FAA Office of Aviation Safety contains lines to both of these databases from its home page at www.nasdac.faa.com. The NTSB database goes back to 1983 and the FAA database goes back to 1978.
The combination of the NTSB and FAA databases would provide a comprehensive history of the record of U.S. airlines or of aircraft registered in the U.S. for accidents and incidents since 1983. More general information about U.S. air carrier operations can be found in annual report FAA Statistical Handbook of Aviation. This report covers a broad array of U.S. aviation information and includes data on the FAA, capacity and activity in the U.S. airspace system, airports, airport activity, civil air carriers, and the civil air carrier fleet.
In addition to the records in the NTSB and FAA databases, you can also use the resignation number to find out about the owner of an aircraft involved in an incident or accident. There are two options, one is to download the database of the FAA Civil Aviation Registry and search it using a spreadsheet or database program. A more convenient option is to use the registration database at www.landings.com. Once you know the registered owner, you can return to the NTSB and FAA search forms to find out if that owner had been involved in other accidents or incidents.
Although these databases offer a convenient way to access critical information, keep in mind that they do not represent the official record for an aircraft. If you need something more authoritative, contact the FAA, NTSB, or another relevant authority.
Additional information about crash or about the aircraft or airline involved in a crash may be found in news releases or official statements from the Web sites for the aircraft manufacture, the airline, the investigating authority (for the U.S. accidents this would be the NTSB at www.ntsb.gov), or the emergency services organizations in the jurisdiction where the event took place. The Web sites www.airsafe.com and Aviation Safety Network at www.aviation-safety.net traditionally have short synopsis of the even and details about the aircraft or the airline.
In all airplane crash cases it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in questions and to enable physicians or other expert witnesses to thoroughly evaluate any injuries.
For more information on this subject matter, please refer to our section on Airline, Cruise, Bus, And Other Mass Transit Accidents.
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