Last updated: 01:07 PM ET, Thu March 26 2015

Pilots Union Blasts Audio Leak From Germanwings Crash

Impacting Travel | Rich Thomaselli | March 26, 2015

Pilots Union Blasts Audio Leak From Germanwings Crash

PHOTO: The flight recorder recovered from the crashed Germanwings flight 9525. (Courtesy of Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses)

An airline pilots’ union is blasting whoever leaked audio from the cockpit voice recorder in the Germanwings plane crash to the media, saying it was a “breach of trust.”

Prior to today’s announcement from French prosecutors that they believe the co-pilot deliberately crashed the plane into the French Alps on Tuesday, killing all 150 on board, a French military official told the New York Times that audio from the CVR showed that the co-pilot had locked the pilot out of the cockpit after he got up to momentarily leave the flight deck.

“The International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) deplores and condemns yesterday's leaking of certain elements of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) of the Germanwings flight 4U9525,” the association said in a statement. “Not only do these leaks contravene the internationally agreed principles of accident investigation confidentiality set out in ICAO Annex 13, they are also a breach of trust to all those involved in the investigation and to the families of the victims. Furthermore, leaks of this nature greatly harm flight safety since they invite ill-informed speculation from the media and the general public and discourage cooperation with investigators in future accidents.”

IFALPA represents more than 100,000 pilots in more than 100 countries worldwide.

IFALPA said the sole purpose of a CVR is to aid investigators in determining the factors leading to an accident and not to apportion blame or be used outside of its safety context.

CVR details, it said, should only be publicly released following a thorough and complete investigation of the events that occurred, and not prematurely during the course of the field portion of the accident investigation.

“Leaking premature, unanalyzed, and partial CVR recordings, which lack the context of the entire body of factual investigative data, severely interferes with the investigative process, and can only lead to early conclusions on what exactly occurred during the time leading up to the accident,” the union said. “Any other use of CVR data is not only invalid, but is an unacceptable invasion of privacy best described as a search for sensationalism and voyeurism of the worst kind. It is vital for the investigating body to ensure all information under their control is properly handled until the completion of the investigation.”

IFALPA is offering its assistance to the investigation, saying there is a “need for an objective accident investigation process through the collection of all the facts needed to draw an accurate analysis of events.”

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