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Speeches

Closing Statement - Board Meeting: Alaska State Troopers Helicopter Crash
Christopher A. Hart
Washington, DC
11/5/2014

In closing, I would like to recognize the hard work of the NTSB staffin producing this report, andthank my fellow Board Members for their very helpful participation in the process.
 
We have seen far too many accidents in public helicopter operations. Since 2004, the NTSB has investigated the crashes of 71 public helicopters that resulted in 27 deaths and 22 serious injuries.
 
For example, four people were lost in the 2008 crash of a Maryland State Police helicopter on an EMS mission, and two more lost their lives in the 2009 crash of a New Mexico State Police helicopter on a search and rescue mission. In the wake of the accidents, both state police forces made major changes to their helicopter operations, as we have heard the Alaska Department of Public Safety has done in response to this accident.
 
Today, we are reporting once again on a fatal public helicopter accident. We have made new recommendations to states that have public helicopter operations and to the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
 
They include a recommendation to implement comprehensive safety management systems that would hold senior state personnel accountable for operational safety, be tailored to the department's missions, and be based on industry best practices.
 
Implementing today's recommendations will enhance the safety of pilots who fly public aircraft, those who fly with them, and the persons they are transporting, both in Alaska and elsewhere.
 
This is an opportunity for the states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, to learn from what happened in Alaska, and to address their own public helicopter operations before they suffer losses of their own.
 
We stand adjourned.