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Beyond the legal personality, structure, or even the name of the Mexican aeronautical authority, in the process of being transformed into the Federal Civil Aviation Agency, I think it is important to insist on the need for the work of air accident investigation to be carried out by an independent entity, at least of that of the aeronautical authority, that we do not forget, in certain incidents, may end up being “judge and party”, to the point of becoming considered responsible or contributing to them.
Vehicles used by transport, especially air vehicles, are reaching such technical sophistication levels, which, although they offer operational and financial advantages, they also pose formidable challenges for those who should eventually investigate the incidents in which they are involved, that is, increasingly complex interdisciplinary processes that involve multiple actors inside and outside the nation where they take place and to which frequently new variables are added that must be invariably taken into account in the analyzes.
It is useless to investigate the causes of an accident if the investigation is defective, it is not objective, it is not impartial and if it does not give rise to solid recommendations and demonstrable value.
In other words: if, during the investigation, truths are not discovered scientifically and documentary in relation to the origin of the incident, on which security recommendations that could save lives in the future are sustained, preventing them from happening again, the effort was of no use and what is worse, the sacrifice of those affected is worth nothing .
It is not only about addressing an incident, the causes and the message that they carry and the most important thing must be discovered : make it known to those who are subject to the same risk.
Losses, in addition to causing death, injuries, property damage, economic losses and alterations to the regularity of services, call attention to security failures, guiding principle of any transport activity.
Truths that are obvious or that hide in a sea of technical complexities, human factors, mechanical failures, environmental issues, nature of what or who is transported, training issues, conflicts of interest, bureaucracy, politicking, corruption and neglect .
Listening, understanding, processing, learning and spreading the message of an event is the responsibility of the national authorities in charge of the investigation of incidents and accidents in the means of transport, which undoubtedly are presented with enormous technological, logistical and financial challenges to attend them.
The national air accident investigation authorities in Mexico often simply and simply lack the necessary elements to discover the truths of the events they must attend, starting with the independence that any objective investigation requires and in opportunities, they end up depending on the support, almost total inclusive, of private and public instances of the foreigner, something that can reduce the control and decision capacity of the Mexican agency.
Therefore, frequently, the lessons that these truths hide cannot be made known to be learned, sentencing the rest of the vehicles to the possibility of suffering an accident for the same causes and the occupants or others affected to pay even with life by them.
Perhaps it would be worth thinking about the possibility of adopting the model of an investigative and dictating agency that deals with incidents in all means of transport, in the style of the North American National Transportation Board, known in our medium by its acronym NTSB, instead of do the work within the authorities or entities of each of them, as is currently the case in Mexico.
I insist, at least in aeronautics, this responsibility should be taken away from the authority and placed in the hands of a national public or private third party, under legal, administrative, political and technical conditions to really discover and on time, the causes of accidents, to make them known accompanied by the corresponding safety recommendations that help prevent their recurrence.
Without a doubt, there is a lot at stake.