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C-5 mishap investigated

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Steve Marciniak
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
As emergency crews responded to the scene of the C-5 mishap April 3, another group sprang into action with a different goal in mind - help collect critical evidence.

Safety officials from the 436th and 512th Airlift Wings almost immediately set out to convene an interim safety board, made up of Team Dover members, in an effort to keep the scene intact to allow for further investigation.

"Our job is to secure the site and preserve the evidence," said Lt. Col. Darren James, 436th AW chief of Safety. "Our role is not to analyze the evidence or to determine a cause, but to facilitate the investigation."

That investigation is now underway, under the formal title of the Safety Investigation Board. It is comprised of experts from a variety of specialties from other bases, and is appointed by Gen. Duncan McNabb, commander of Air Mobility Command.

The SIB, led by Col. Frederick Martin, 305th Air Mobility Wing commander at McGuire Air Force Base, N.J., will attempt to determine what went wrong in an effort to ensure the safety of the Air Force's entire C-5 fleet and to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

"It's a fairly comprehensive process," Colonel James said. "They will look at it from the big picture all the way down to the smallest detail." He added that the investigation will consist of a variety of means to gather data, including reviewing the aircraft's flight data recorder, interviewing the survivors and witnesses, examining the mishap site and the debris, as well as all photos taken since the mishap occurred.

The SIB is expected to continue the field portion of its investigation at Dover for 30 days or more. Once the report is compiled and coordinated through the AMC staff, its findings will be distributed to Air Force units around the world through safety channels. This report, however, contains privileged information and is not releasable to the public.

A separate investigative body, the Accident Investigation Board, will conduct an independent review. It will be headed up by Col. Raymond Torres, the commandant of the Air Force Expeditionary Operations School at the Air Mobility Warfare Center, Fort Dix, N.J., and will operate independently in an attempt to resolve all issues surrounding the mishap. These issues include but are not limited to possible claims, litigation, possible disciplinary and administrative actions and more.

The AIB report will be released to the public upon completion and will incorporate factual data collected from the SIB.