Christine De Veyrac on helping those affected by plane crashes

Pilot Error: Anatomy of a Plane Crash
In the wake of the Polish plane crash air safety generally is again in the spotlight. A new report by French MEP Christine De Veyrac - started long before the crash, looks at ways of improving investigations into crashes. It also proposes measures to help identify those who may have been afflicted and notify their families. We put some questions to Ms De Veyrac, a Member of the centre right European People's Party. Her report is part of an overhaul EU law in this area of transport.

Your report aims to improve investigations when a plane crash. But what can we do to better prevent accidents and to prevent such tragedies and human suffering as recently seen at Smolensk?

Firstly, I want to express my solidarity with the Polish people who suffered heavy losses in this tragic accident.

On the issue of prevention of accidents in my report I propose two major steps in that direction. 

One is to strengthen the mechanisms and effectiveness of investigations conducted after an accident. Indeed, if an investigation is conducted quickly and efficiently, it may help determine the cause of the accident and thus prevent it from happening again. 

The second is the upstream analysis of various incidents that may occur. We know that an accident is rarely caused by one problem but it is usually the result of several incidents that occur at the same time. If we can identify incidents that occur repeatedly and then try to correct deficiencies. Hopefully this will prevent many accidents. 

How can the assistance given to relatives of victims in case of air accidents be improved? 

Assistance to relatives of victims is still inadequate in Europe and it is lagging behind the United States where a whole series of measures have been implemented. 

In my draft report, I propose to introduce a shorter delay for the transmission of the list of passengers aboard the crashed plane and measures to more quickly identify the person to contact in case of an accident. These provisions aim to reduce anxiety and expectations of families who are in limbo. 

In addition, I make several other proposals on the designation of a contact with families, privileged information must be forwarded to the family, the obligation for States and companies have an emergency plan and apply the provisions of the Montreal Convention on the compensation of families.

In Parliament, we represent the citizens and therefore it is normal that in my report I developed many aspects assisting victims of their relatives. How Europe can contribute to improving the safety of civil aviation in the world - and thus ensure its citizens in case of an accident in a third country, will also not be completely abandoned. The airline is in essence trans-national. It does not stop at the borders of a country or that of the Union. 

The first action of the EU to contribute to aviation safety in Europe and the world is the establishment of a blacklist of banned aircraft. Regarding accidents occurring outside the EU, we must know that even if the investigation is conducted by a third country, the country of the company and the States which have nationals on board the aircraft are closely involved in investigation. They are informed of the progress of the investigation and are in constant contact with the families of victims.

In addition, as part of my report I proposed measures on assistance to victims apply regardless of where the accident occurs. European citizens are not abandoned but supported and kept informed by their State.

Source: European Parliament

PT Comment
Well done to Christine De Veyrac, this is a proactive and rational report.