Local police to guard aircrash evidence: DGCA

Aviation regulator DGCA proposes to put onus on local police & fire authorities. to ensure that the wreckage and evidences are properly preserved.

Last Updated: Sep 27, 2010, 20:32 PM IST

New Delhi: To ensure that vital evidence is not lost after an aircrash, aviation regulator DGCA proposes to put the onus on local police and fire authorities to ensure that the wreckage and evidences are properly preserved.

As the action required to be taken by police and other state agencies may vary from case to case, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has come out with detailed
do`s and don`ts for the police to streamline the action that has to be taken by them.
The move comes in the wake of recommendations of the enquiry committee which went into the crash of an Air India Express plane, which overshot the runway at Mangalore airport and burst into flames on May 22, killing 158 people.

A draft Air Safety Circular, issued by the DGCA`s Air Safety Directorate, deals with issues ranging from rescue of passengers, crew and others to medical checks, post-mortem, handing over of bodies as well as guarding of the wreckage and preserving evidence, including through photography.

While the police should ensure that the Captain and Co-pilot, who may be dead or alive, are "immediately subjected to medical check up for consumption of alcohol" by collecting their blood or urine samples, the circular makes it mandatory for all dead bodies to be subjected to post-mortem.
It also deals with eye-witnesses and how the police would record their names and addresses and those of others who would have a first-hand account of the accident. These details are to be supplied to the Inspector of Accident or the Investigator, who would be the "final authority" in all matters, the fresh guidelines said.

The aviation regulator has also worked out guidelines to ensure that "minimum disturbance" is caused to the wreckage while the fire-fighting services conduct search and rescue operations or extricate bodies.
The circular prohibits the police to release dead bodies of crew members even after post-mortem, till the Inspector of Accident issues instructions in that regard. While photography by police or fire authorities has been allowed freely, the circular suggests that "due care" should be taken to ensure that the wreckage is not disturbed and ground marks not obliterated.

It also recommends that police should cordon off the wreckage site and keep all unauthorised people out of it.

PTI