Trial Should Never Have Happened, Says FSF President
Alexandria, VA, November 7, 2006 — Today’s long awaited verdict in a trial of six defendants charged with criminal behavior in the 1992 Air Inter A320 crash in France led the Flight Safety Foundation to express its support for the acquittal of all six defendants.
“As this trial comes to an end, now it is time to honor those who were lost and their families by putting aside issues of blame and recommiting ourselves to the pursuit of safety,” stated FSF president and CEO, William Voss. “From the perspective of aviation safety, the fact that this trial even took place is troubling. If witnesses are afraid to speak for fear of prosecution years later, then a complete investigation would be difficult to achieve, and that could lead to fewer of the safety initiatives that are so often developed from these investigations.”
The case involved a controlled flight into terrain accident that occurred outside the town of Colmar. At the time, the French civil aviation regulator DGCA did not require the use of ground proximity warning systems. Based on this lack of regulation, the relative inexperience of the pilots and some design features that were subsequently changed, the French judicial system elected to pursue criminal charges.
“The Flight Safety Foundation recently signed a resolution that called on states to protect their aviation accident investigation process from over-zealous judicial systems,” Voss continued. “This trial — despite the favorable result — as well as other recent high-profile accident investigations, shows the need for the aviation industry to protect the process from judicial interference.”
Flight Safety Foundation is an independent, non-profit, international organization engaged in research, auditing, education, advocacy and publishing to improve aviation safety. The Foundation’s mission is to pursue the continuous improvement of global aviation safety and the prevention of accidents. www.flightsafety.org
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