Last September, the Cockpit Voice Recordings (CVR) from the deadliest Spanish aviation accident in 25 years (Spanair Flight JK 5022, 20 Aug. 2008) were made public on the websites of several major Spanish media outlets. This happened despite being in violation of the European Accident Investigation Regulation – and an act of disrespect for the victims, their families and the crew.
ECA President, Nico Voorbach, immediately contacted the editor who first uploaded the recordings to inform that CVRs are an essential tool of safety investigations and serve for investigators to determine the causes of accidents and prevent future deaths of people. The use of voice recording in other circumstances is illegal and infringes the right to privacy and dignity of the persons recorded.
However, the Spanish aviation authorities’ attitude has raised eyebrows: “The lack of response by the Spanish Authorities on this issue has been astonishing”, says Juan-Carlos Lozano, from the Spanish pilots’ Association SEPLA. “No single CAA official has made any public intervention on this. Not even denouncing the issue.” “If the Spanish Authorities do not react to this, what kind of commitment do we expect from them? Is this the kind of trust the aviation system needs for improving safety?” asked Lozano after the publications of the CVR.
ECA strongly condemned this publication and will follow-up with the Spanish and European authorities to request an investigation on how these recordings can have been obtained for an unlawful publication.