Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation

1. Participation of States in investigations

  • Accredited representatives of States entitled to participate in investigations outside their territories do not necessarily need to travel to the State of occurrence. To this effect, the applicable Annex 13 provision is reproduced for ease of reference:

4.6   Upon receipt of the notification, the State of Registry, the State of the Operator, the State of Design and the State of Manufacture shall, as soon as possible, provide the State of Occurrence with any relevant information available to them regarding the aircraft and flight crew involved in the accident or serious incident. Each State shall also inform the State of Occurrence whether it intends to appoint an accredited representative and if such an accredited representative is appointed, the name and contact details; as well as the expected date of arrival if the accredited representative will travel to the State of Occurrence.

  • Should States' accredited representatives, advisers and experts not be able to travel to the State of Occurrence to participate in the investigation, the State of Occurrence should consider giving priority to teleconference and/or videoconference, as appropriate, when liaising with participants.

 

 2. When the State of Occurrence is a member of a Regional Accident and Incident Investigation Organization (RAIO)

  • Should RAIO AIG experts assigned to the investigation not be able to travel to the State of Occurrence (which does not host the RAIO), it is imperative that the State of Occurrence ensure that its accident investigation authority have the means to handle on-site investigations without the assistance of the RAIO AIG experts. In this connection, it is recalled that some of the roles of the State's accident investigation authority would be to institute the investigation as per Standard 5.1 of Annex 13; and to ensure that the wreckage is properly protected as required in Standard 3.3 of Annex 13, which reads: "The State of Occurrence shall take all reasonable measures to protect the evidence and to maintain safe custody of the aircraft and its contents for such a period as may be necessary for the purposes of an investigation. Protection of evidence shall include the preservation, by photographic or other means, of any evidence which might be removed, effaced, lost or destroyed. Safe custody shall include protection against further damage, access by unauthorized persons, pilfering and deterioration."


 3. Delay in read-out of flight recorders by another State due to travel restrictions

  • Annex 13 calls the State conducting the investigation to arrange for the read-out of the flight recorders without delay. There could be delays in sending flight recorders for read-out in another State, as the representative(s) from the State of Occurrence would not be able to travel and hand over the recorders to the read-out facility abroad. In addition, arriving persons would need to self-quarantine for some 14 days. States should therefore consider establishing arrangements to have (the representative of) the State of Occurrence handing over the recorders to (the representative of) the State assisting the read-out of the flight recorders at the airside of the arriving airport; and then depart back home without entering the latter State.
  • It is essential that the flight recorders be read out as early as possible, facilitating early identification of problem areas that could affect the investigation at the accident site where evidence is sometimes transient. To this end, should the read-out be delayed and the wreckage be required to be moved/removed, the State of Occurrence should consider planning the removal process in close consultation with all States participating in the investigation, with due consideration to non-travelling States, to ensure wreckage material that could serve as evidence would not be inadvertently destroyed.

 

 4. Delay in carrying out tests of aircraft parts (e.g. engine, system components) in other States due to  travel restrictions

  • Freighter services are less affected than passenger services, and aircraft parts may still be freighted over to test facilities in other States. To this end, and if personal handover is deemed necessary, States should consider establishing arrangements to have (the representative of) the State of Occurrence handing over the aircraft part to (the representative of) the State assisting with the test facility at the airside of the arriving airport; and then depart back home without entering the latter State.


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