Pilot unions have reacted with dismay after audio footage of the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and technical details of an accident involving a Tuninter ATR-72 were leaked to Italian news wire ANSA.
The four minute recording which details the conversation between the cockpit and air traffic control in Sicily had been in the custody of the Sicilian public prosecutor’s office as part of a judicial investigation into the crash. Details of the court’s report were also published on the website.
The source of the leak is not known, but Italy’s air accident investigation agency Agenzia nazionale per la sicurezza del volo (ANSV) has distanced itself from the information, stating that the release of the recording and technical information relating to the crash breaches international air safety regulations.
The International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations (IFALPA) says “CVRs are a tool for accident investigation only, their use for anything else is morally and ethically wrong.” The federation adds that “aside from satisfying a voyeuristic streak in some elements of the media there is no reason to release the content or the recording to the public at large.” It warns: “to leak a CVR recording is unprofessional and doesn’t serve to aid the investigation or indeed air safety as a whole.”
ANSV’s own technical investigation into the crash is expected to be completed in around two months. The safety agency has already made three safety recommendations to EASA as a result of the accident.
ANSV says it is “strongly determined in taking all the necessary initiatives so that the CVR recordings would be adequately protected from further disclosure for purposes other than accident investigation.”
Fifteen passengers and one member of the cabin crew were killed when the Tuninter ATR 72 en route from Bari to Djerba ditched off the coast of Sicily in August 2005 after suffering fuel exhaustion.