National Transportation Safety Board
Office of Public Affairs
National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Jim Hall today issued the following statement following the broadcast yesterday on Dateline NBC of portions of the audio from the cockpit voice recorder of a fatal airliner accident that occurred near Cali, Colombia in 1995. As everyone associated with the business of air safety knows, cockpit voice recorders are an invaluable tool in determining the causes of aircraft accidents and, therefore, invaluable in promoting air safety worldwide. In an effort to keep those recordings from being used for any purposes other than the advancement of air safety, Congress has placed strictures on the use of CVRs, and prohibited the government from ever releasing the audio portions of the recordings.
I was therefore dismayed to hear the recorded voices of the pilots of American Airlines flight 965, which crashed near Cali, Colombia on December 20, 1995, broadcast on network television last night. The use of such a recording--however it was obtained--for such a purpose is inappropriate. It does nothing to advance the cause of aviation safety, and only serves to sensationalize a tragedy. It is imperative that the privacy of these recordings be preserved as dictated by law.
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NTSB Office of Public Affairs: (202) 314-6100
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent federal agency charged with determining the probable cause
of transportation accidents, promoting transportation safety, and assisting victims of transportation accidents and their families.