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Wed, Jan 30, 2019

NTSB Resumes Normal Operations

Fifteen Aviation Accident Investigations Put On Hold During Partial Government Shutdown

Employees of the National Transportation Safety Board returned to work Monday, resuming normal operations and developing plans to address the work that could not be accomplished during the partial shutdown of government.

Of the 397 agency staff, 367 employees were furloughed, 26 employees were excepted, and four investigators were recalled and worked without pay to support investigations of three international aviation accidents.

As of Jan. 25, 2019, impacts of the partial shutdown for the NTSB include:

  • Twenty-two accidents in which the NTSB did not dispatch investigators, including:
  • 15 aviation accidents resulting in 21 fatalities
  • Three marine accidents
  • Two railroad accidents resulting in two fatalities
  • Two highway accidents resulting in 7 fatalities, 15 injuries

These 22 accidents now require investigative action.

  • There were six accidents in which the NTSB did not gather evidence to determine if an investigation was warranted, including:
  • Two pipeline accidents (one diesel fuel, one natural gas)
  • Three highway accidents resulting in eight fatalities
  • One railroad accident resulting in one fatality

During the partial shutdown work stopped on:

  • 1,815 ongoing general aviation and limited aviation safety investigations
  • 33 ongoing rail, pipeline, and hazardous materials investigations
  • 44 ongoing marine investigations
  • 21 ongoing highway investigations

Within the Office of Research and Engineering, work stopped on:

  • 63 medical cases
  • 63 cases in the Materials Laboratory Division
  • 451 cases in the Vehicle Recorders Division
  • 54 cases in the Vehicle Performance Division
  • Postponement of the launch of the NTSB’s 2019 – 2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements, which has been rescheduled to Feb. 4.
  • Postponement of a board meeting to determine the probable cause of the March 2017 runway excursion in Ypsilanti, Michigan
  • Cancellation of 22 external meetings or presentations
  • More than 180 media inquiries went unanswered

The 22 accidents in which the NTSB did not launch investigators, but would have if not for the partial shutdown, may not result in investigators physically visiting the accident sites, and, it is possible that perishable evidence may have been lost, which potentially could prevent determination of probable cause.

(Source: NTSB news release)

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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