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NTSB Subpoenas AAL Pilots In JFK Near-Disaster

On Feb. 10, the NTSB announced a subpoena for the three American Airlines pilots involved in the Jan. 13 near-disaster at JFK. The pilots complied early on with investigators, giving them a written testimony. The pilots did refuse to be interviewed, however, leading the NTSB to attempt to interview them three different time. The NTSB has now determined that "this investigation requires that the flight crew interviews be audio recorded and transcribed by a court reporter to ensure the highest degree of accuracy, completeness, and efficiency." As the crew has repeatedly denied a recorded interview, "subpoenas for their testimony have been issued.” American's Union, APA, backs the crews decisions, saying "We join in the goal of creating an accurate record of all interviews conducted in the course of an investigation. However, we firmly believe the introduction of electronic recording devices into witness interviews is more likely to hinder the investigation process than it is to improve it. Not only may the recording of interviews lead to less candid responses from those witnesses who may choose to proceed under such requirements, but the existence and potential availability of interview recordings upon conclusion of an investigation will tend to lead many otherwise willing crew members to elect not to participate in interviews at all." The NTSB was able to attain recorded statements by the controllers involved and written testimony from the Delta crew—which the agency deemed sufficient.


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