Deciding when to investigate
This section provides information on the decision process for investigating aviation safety matters.
The AAIA is resourced each year to undertake a finite number of investigations. It is acknowledged, however, that an occurrence with a large number of passenger fatalities would represent a major accident that may require supplementary funding. When notified of an occurrence, an assessment of the circumstances is made to determine if a full investigation is warranted. Some occurrences may be subject to a limited scope, short fact-gathering investigation. These short investigations are published periodically in Short Investigation Bulletins or Final Reports.
The AAIA will investigate when there is a high probability that it can advance aviation safety and reduce risks to persons, property or the environment. The AAIA also monitors occurrence statistics to identify trends and emerging safety issues. We review developments in aviation and identify safety risks that we believe the government and the aviation industry should address to reduce injury and loss of life.
Phases of an Investigation
There are 3 phases to an AAIA investigation
Field Phase: Once the decision has been made to investigate, a team of investigators is assembled with an investigator in charge and other relevant investigators. The makeup of the team depends on the nature of the occurrence. The AAIA normally informs the public of its dispatch and arrival to the occurrence site. Once on-site, the team secures, examines and photograph the occurrence site, examine and photograph the equipment, or wreckage, interviews witnesses and company or other appropriate personnel, select and remove wreckage for further analysis, collects other pertinent information and reviews documentations.
Examination and Analysis Phase: Much of the AAIA investigation takes place after the team leaves the occurrence site. During the examination and analysis phase the team reviews pertinent records, tests selected components and systems of the wreckage in the lab, read and analyze recorders and other data (if available), review autopsy and toxicology reports, conduct further interviews, determines the sequence of events and identifies safety deficiencies. When safety deficiencies are suspected or confirmed, the AAIA advises the appropriate authority without waiting until publication of the final report. During this phase, an update to the public is also made.
Note: Information collected during an investigation, including cockpit voice recording, data recordings, and personal information such as witness statements is protected under the Aircraft Accident Investigation Authority Act and Regulations 2019.
Report Phase: After the examination and analysis phase, a confidential draft report is prepared. This report is then sent to persons and corporations who are directly concerned by the report for their review and contributions. They then have the opportunity to dispute or correct information they believe to be incorrect. The AAIA considers all representations and make any required amendments before approving the draft report as an approved final report. Once approved, this Final Report is released to the public and also available on our website.
The AAIA publishes its investigation reports as quickly as possible but takes the time it needs to conduct a thorough investigation and produce a report that advances safety and meets the expectations of the Bahamian public and the aviation industry.