Post Accident Information Checklist

Using a combination of Web based information from official sources such as government agencies and other sources such as large news organizations can give a Web user a very detailed picture of the events and circumstances surrounding a major accident and begin to answer questions such as "What happened?", "Where did it happen?", "Who is involved?", and "What is being done about it?".

Using the Web to gather information immediately after an accident has two distinct advantages: direct access to a variety of relevant background information and access to a wide range news media sources. Depending on the accident, the background resources could include the incident and accident record of a particular aircraft, airline, or airport; detailed weather conditions at the time of the accident, or past fines or other sanctions imposed on the accident airline. Currently, most of the world's major news organizations such as CNN, the BBC, and the New York Times have a presence on the Web, and many local television, radio, and newspaper outlets also have Web sites. While this information in no way substitutes for a detailed analysis of an accident by trained investigators and analysts, it can be substantially better than what is currently offered by most news organizations in the wake of an accident. The following kinds of information can be accessed quickly after an accident

Accident Details
Immediately after an accident, there may be one or more news sites with details of the circumstances of the accident. For an accident in any part of the world, CNN ( is a good starting point. If the accident is in the U.S., involves a U.S. carrier, or has substantial numbers of Americans on board, other useful sites include:
- USA Today (
- New York Times (
- Google News (
- Fox News (

For crashes with no direct US connection (occurring outside of the US, involving non-US airlines on an aircraft not designed and built in the US, and on a flight plan that did not include a US airport), you could start with the following sites:
- New York Times (
- BBC (
- Google News (

News sites offer immediate details about the accident such as the airline, aircraft, number of passengers and crew, casualty estimates, weather conditions, and damage or casualties outside of the aircraft. The Web sites of newspapers or television stations in the vicinity of an accident may also have information that is not available on the larger media sites. One way to locate these sites is to use a search engine to identify the newspaper, radio, or television station Web sites from the area of the accident.

Background Information
If you are looking for background information about the airline or aircraft, different sites have different areas of expertise:

Accident and incident history : (, Aviation Safety Network (, and Wikipedia (search under the airline name at may provide some details of individual accidents. For serious crashes involving US registered aircraft or US locations, the NTSB ( has an extensive searchable database that allows users to search by location, aircraft, and airline. For accidents involving aircraft that are not registered in the U.S. or airlines that are based outside of the U.S., some countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom may have accident and incident records online. The Links Page has links to many of these sites.

Aircraft photos: Aircraft are very popular subjects for amateur and professional photographers, and any accident aircraft is likely to have one or more photos on sites like,, and

Video footage:YouTube ( and other popular video sharing sites typically has many videos posted shortly after an accident, usually consisting of bits of footage from local, national, and international news organizations.

Media Speculation
The major news outlets can provide little useful insights beyond these basic pieces of information. In the hours after the accident, there is simply not enough time for anyone to have been able to know all the relevant details of an accident. Even a photograph or a video from the accident sequence is not enough to allow a full understanding of the accident. If any of these news outlets offer any speculation about the cause of the accident or the sequence of events leading up to the accident, that speculation is at best preliminary and quite possibly wrong. Most of the details of an accident are not known until investigators have had time to review any available information such as evidence from the accident aircraft or eyewitnesses.

If weather may have been a factor, review the following:

  • Accuweather at for local weather conditions at the time of the event,

  • The National Center for Atmospheric Research at,

  • The Weather Channel at for current conditions in selected cities throughout the world, The USA Today at, and

  • The Weather Underground at

Additional weather links are available on the Passenger Information and Advice page at

Post Accident Information Checklist -- Revised: 16 June 2009