Good morning and welcome to the Boardroom of the National Transportation Safety Board. I am Robert Sumwalt, and it is my privilege to serve as the Acting Chairman of the NTSB. Joining me today are my colleagues on the board Member Christopher Hart, Member Bella Dinh-Zarr and Member Earl Weener.
Today, we meet in the open sunshine, as required by the Government in the Sunshine Act, to consider the Controlled Flight Into Terrain of a de Havilland Otter float plane operated by Promech Air near Ketchikan, Alaska, June 25, 2015.
The pilot and all 8 passengers perished.
On behalf of my colleagues on the Board and the entire NTSB staff, I would like to offer our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of those lost. Please remember that our purpose is to learn from this, so that others don’t go through what you’re going through.
The flight was part of a sightseeing excursion of cruise ship passengers over the Misty Fjords National Monument Wilderness. The aerial tour offers passengers breathtaking views of the region’s natural beauty.
But that natural beauty encompasses a dynamic weather environment. When to fly, and which route to fly, can be determined by objective criteria, with a multitude of actors in the decision-making chain. Or it can happen as it happened this day, where the decision can be left to the pilot alone, based on loose expectations rooted in scheduling concerns.
As you will hear in staff presentations this morning, these flights demand appropriate training, knowledge, and equipment, and a culture that instills safety as a core value. Not just a priority, but safety as a core value.
Including this crash, in the 8 years preceding this accident, there were 4 fatal crashes involving cruise ship passengers on air tour flights in Alaska. It is our hope that the air tour industry based in Ketchikan, as well as the cruise ship operators who sell tickets for these air excursions, can learn much from the report that we will consider today.
Now Acting Managing Director Dennis Jones if you would kindly introduce the staff.