Tue, Jun 07, 2005
NTSB Issues Rare Statement After AAL 1420 Verdict
The NTSB stands by its report on the
mishap that killed eleven people in June, 1999. This, in spite of a
jury's decision to award the widow of American Airlines Captain
Richard Buschmann, who died in the crash of AAL Flight 1420 in
Little Rock, AR.
As ANN reported on Monday, the captain's widow, Susan Buschmann,
was awarded $2.1 million in her suit against Little Rock National
Airport. She'd accused the airport of reneging on safety promises
to the FAA. Her attorneys claimed that LIT officials had promised
to beef up the safety area at the end of Runway 4R. That didn't
happen by the time AAL 1420 went off the end of the strip in a
thunderstorm and crashed into a gully.
In a rare statement of rebuttal, NTSB spokesman Paul Schlamm
pointed out to the Associated Press that the standards for reaching
a decision in an agency investigation and those used in the trial
were very, very different.
"This is a separate process with... different competencies
involved," he told the AP.
"The probable causes of this accident were the flight crew's
failure to discontinue the approach when severe thunderstorms and
their associated hazards to flight operations had moved into the
airport area and the crew's failure to ensure that the spoilers had
extended after touchdown" to slow the plane, according to the NTSB
report on the mishap.
"We're prohibited from giving opinions or testimony in civil
trials," Schlamm said. Job one at the NTSB is to promote safety, he
said. "We push our agenda."
At the bottom line, Schlamm said, the NTSB's conclusions were
reached by a panel of experts -- not 12 people quite literally
picked at random.
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