Release #09.011
March 26, 2009

Irresponsible Journalism Interferes with NTSB Colgan Air 3407 Investigation

WASHINGTON – The Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), does not ordinarily comment publicly during any National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) airline accident investigation to which the Association is a party. However, in response to several irresponsible news reports, including a story in USA Today, we feel that a public comment is not only necessary to balance the incorrect news stories, but it is also required to ensure that the investigative process is not interfered with or diverted.

“We urge the news media, and all who are affected by the Colgan Air Flight 3407 accident, to allow the investigation process to proceed without distraction from conjecture regarding the cause of the tragedy.

“On March 25, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released certain facts resulting from the investigation in the context of announcing the date for its public hearing on the accident. None of the facts were conclusive as to a cause, nor did the NTSB allude to a specific cause.

“As our industry has learned time and again, a rush to judgment with the intent to assign blame, rather than to advance safety, in an airline accident investigation fails to determine the action necessary to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again.

“The goal of accident investigation, and the legacy of all those who lost their lives in this accident, must be to create a safer airline industry. We urge all involved to join the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l, in pursuing that goal.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilots union, representing 52,250 pilots at 35 airlines in the United States and Canada.

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Contact: Linda Shotwell, 703/481-4440 or