The Civil Aviation Accident Investigation Board (JIAAC) formally began the investigation process of the occurrence that involved the aircraft Mitsubishi MU2 registration LV-MCV, after being notified of its finding, last Saturday, 19 August, at approximately 5:40 pm. The aircraft was reported missing since last 24 July. The investigation procedure was immediately activated in compliance with the Major Accident Response Plan (PRAM).
In the early hours of Sunday, August 20, fieldwork began with a team of 5 investigators led by the National Director of Investigation B. A. Daniel Barafani, in an operation with the coordination and logistical support of the Argentine Coast Guard (PNA).
That day began the first tasks within the ‘fieldwork’ phase at the site of the accident, a marshy area located approximately 90 meters north of the left bank of Paraná Guazú river, near the confluence with Barca Grande river (the border between the provinces of Buenos Aires and Entre Ríos).
Due to the difficulties of the ground and the conditions of the wreckage, it was necessary to use special protective equipment and clothing, pumps for the extraction of water and mud, and more tools of different types that allowed the removal of the parts. Among them, the use of a backhoe loader was required to lift the heavier parts.
All the tasks were coordinated with court Nº 2 of San Isidro, which is conducting the legal case. Judge Dr. Sandra Arroyo Salgado, a coroner, the district attorney, the Court Secretary and an attorney representing each one of the families and the passenger went to the scene of the accident.
During the second day, the removal of the aircraft parts continued and fatalities were confirmed, whose disposal was the responsibility of the court by means of two forensic teams, the legal team and the Argentine team of forensic anthropology.
Subsequently, assistance was requested from Argentine Air Force (FAA) helicopter MI 17 for the removal of the wreckage of greater weight, as parts of the engines and landing gear. Prior to this operation, it was necessary to prepare the area by cutting trees in a perimeter of about 20 meters, so as to ensure safety.
During the first four days on the ground, the Field Investigation Work Team (ETIC), made up of aeronautical engineers, mechanical technicians and different specialists, performed parts lifting and localization tasks, took measurements and searched for evidence to be later incorporated in the investigation file of the occurrence.
Each day we worked continuously for about 10 hours on the ground, showing a great vocation of service and dedication. In this regard, the collaboration of over 40 officers of different forces was invaluable, which included: Argentine Coast Guard divers, Border Patrol and Argentine Air Force personnel, firefighters, Federal Police and Airport Security Police, among others. The help provided by rural workers and inhabitants of the area, who provided labor in coordination with the Coast Guard and the Court, was also of priceless value.
The Japanese company Mitsubishi, the manufacturer of the aircraft, offered its collaboration to supply information and experiences, while it got in touch with the Japan Transportation Safety Board (an AIG accident investigation organization of that country) which will be able to participate in this investigation under the accredited representatives scheme.
The first contact occurred informally during a meeting in the framework of the Annual Seminar of the International Society of Air Safety Investigators (ISASI) conducted from 22 to 24 August in San Diego (United States), which was attended by some representatives of JIAAC. It is worth mentioning that Argentina is the only Latin American country that is a member of ISASI.
In that same framework, representatives of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) also offered their support to advise JIAAC on the investigation of this occurrence.
Throughout the field work phase, the victims’ relatives were provided daily briefings, in accordance with the provisions of the Protocol on Assistance to Aircraft Accidents Victims and their Families. Furthermore, in compliance with the Communications protocol, the media was provided with information on the work done through daily briefings and press conferences.
JIAAC accident investigation process is based on the systemic model and has the objective of identifying the triggering factors, the defense failures and the underlying factors of the accident, with the aim of issuing recommendations on effective, practical and viable actions that contribute to safety management.