Honorable Deborah Hersman, NTSB Board Member

Acting Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman
National Transportation Safety Board
Closing Remarks
Washington, DC – December 11, 2013
Investigative Hearing on the Crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214
San Francisco, California, July 6, 2013
(As prepared for delivery)


We have no other witnesses to testify, so the NTSB's investigative hearing into the crash of Asiana Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport is concluded. The record will remain open for additional materials requested during the hearing.

On behalf of my fellow Board members and the NTSB staff, we extend our appreciation to the participants at this hearing.

I thank each of the witnesses for their testimony, and the parties and the party spokespersons for their cooperation which is essential to all aspects of the investigation; and it was evident here in this hearing with their diverse and willing participation.

I'd like to acknowledge the NTSB staff from our Office of Aviation Safety and the support of staff from the other NTSB offices.

The transcript is scheduled to be available to the parties and witnesses electronically within 7 days of completion of the hearing. Any corrections to the transcript by witnesses or parties should be sent to the Hearing Officer, Mr. LeBaron, within 30 days of receipt of the transcript - on or about January 18, 2014. Any documents or information identified during the hearing that a party agrees to furnish to the NTSB should also be sent to the Hearing Officer by that same date - January 18, 2014.

The archive of the hearing webcast will remain on the NTSB website for several months after the hearing. The transcript of the hearing and all of the materials entered into the record will become part of the public docket, along with other records of the investigation.

Today, we have shined a valuable light on the facts and circumstances of July 6. Our investigation is ongoing, and we will continue to work diligently to finalize our report.

Commercial aviation has never been safer than it is today - and we owe many advances in aviation safety to advances in cockpit automation. However, automation must be well-understood and monitored effectively by flight crews.

Today’s hearing has provided our investigators with valuable insight about the specifics of the 777 flight deck, Asiana crew training and automated systems.

While we seek to understand how the three passenger fatalities and serious injuries to all on board might have been prevented, we also want to identify the factors that contributed to saving the lives of the more than 300 passengers and crew members. Today’s testimony has also provided valuable information about cabin crashworthiness and emergency response.

More and more, we recognize that aviation is an international endeavor, and we are both dependent and strengthened by our relationships around the globe. Fortunately, we do not have accidents like Asiana 214 very often, but, when we do, we are obligated to investigate them, learn from them and determine actions that can be taken to prevent them from occurring in the future.

While each witness and each organization represented here brings different knowledge to the table and has a different perspective, everyone here has the same goal: to improve aviation safety.

Despite the disruption with yesterday's closure, I would like to recognize everyone who made this hearing possible: the NTSB staff that coordinated the multitude of logistics in a very short time frame and the interpreters who have a tough task under normal circumstances but especially under today's long day.

I want to acknowledge the more than 20 witnesses who accommodated the late change in schedule and came well prepared to testify.

Finally, I want to recognize Chairman Cho for making the long journey here from Korea to attend this hearing. His effort to travel and be here in person is a testament to the great cooperation among our foreign partners and the shared desire to make aviation safer.

We stand adjourned.