Boeing crash probe protocol hampered by Iran-US stir
There are clear international rules governing investigations into air crashes, but in the event of Wednesday’s Ukrainian passenger jet crisis in Iran they are likely to fall prey to heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington.
The Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737-800 crashed less than three minutes after taking off from the airport of Tehran, killing 176 Iranians and Canadians.
Tehran has already indicated it wouldn’t hand over to Americans the recovered flight recorders, the so-called black boxes, for investigation.
The rules on probes into air crashes are put down in the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, and the responsibility for those investigations is delegated to the countries where they occur.
This puts Iran in charge of the investigation, but the nation that manufactured the aircraft and the country of the airline which operated the plane are also to have representatives involved in the probe.
In theory this means that the US National Transportation Safety Board, which is the body charged with investigating air accidents, would be called Boeing is based in america, and would probably rely on specialists from the manufacturer.
“That could be a little complicated,” said Jean-Paul Troadec, former head of France’s BEA airline safety agency.
The crash came on the same day that US-Iranian tensions rose to new heights as Iran fired a volley of missiles at Iraqi bases housing US and other foreign troops, the Islamic republic’s first act in its promised revenge for the US killing of a leading Iranian general.
Boeing said it was in contact with Ukraine International Airlines and that it was”prepared to assist in any way needed”.
However, the head of Iran Civil Aviation Organisation head, Ali Abedzadeh, said while the Ukrainians were free to take part in the probe into the crash,”we won’t give the black boxes to the manufacturer (Boeing) and the Americans,” according to the Mehr news agency.
Reading information from the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder is not in itself difficult, according to Troadec.
“The problem is when the recorders are in very bad condition, then you need labs which have the experience and equipment” in recovering data, he explained.
Besides the NTSB, Troadec stated the BAE and its counterparts in Britain and Germany have the know-how to deal with data recovery in such conditions, and the Russians. The BEA said it has yet to receive any request for assistance from the Ukrainian government.
The Chicago Convention allows a country. Dutch police carried out the investigations into the 2014 crash of a Malaysia Airlines that crashed in Ukraine as it returned home from Amsterdam, killing 298 people including 193 Dutch nationals.