Honorable Deborah Hersman, NTSB Board Member

Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman
National Transportation Safety Board
Closing Remarks
Search and Rescue Forum
Washington, DC - July 18, 2012
(As Prepared for Delivery)

On behalf of my fellow Board members, I want to thank everyone who has participated in this forum — especially our panelists, who took the time to provide us with thorough and informative presentations and to answer our many questions. And, many thanks to the NTSB team for the great work putting this forum together. Under Member Weener's leadership, many important issues have been highlighted.

Talking about search and rescue is really talking about what is most precious: life. Annie Dillard wrote, "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." I would say that these past two days — focusing on improving search and rescue to save more lives has indeed been time well spent.

We are spending billions of dollars on new satellites, beacons, and NextGen. Yet, we continue to see a high percentage of false alerts and, worse, aviation crashes where aircraft have not been found. And we see aircraft owners who are passing their father's technology to their children.

Our panelists have affirmed that the technology and the expertise is available to improve Search and Rescue ... to move from "search and rescue" to "go and rescue."

Like SAR - the capability is there, what we need now is the coordination.

We stand adjourned.