First and foremost, I want to express my sympathies to the family members, loved ones and friends of the victims of Flight 7K9268 in the same manner as I continue to express my sympathies to the family members, loved ones and friends of the victims of Flight MH17. In both horrible incidents, innocent lives were lost and those who are left behind will have to learn to live with memories of the victims instead of the victims being part of their lives. Never again a new memory will be made by the victims, their lives have ended abruptly and the ones who are left behind will have to go through a long and difficult path of healing and mourning.
There is a picture on the internet, showing a 10 month old baby gazing at airplanes before her departure from St. Petersburg. A beautiful young life, impressed by all new impressions like all babies in her age are. Never again will she be impressed by what she sees, never again will she learn and grow. She died on Flight 7K9268 and all we can do is hope that she didn’t suffer during her final moments.
Everyone with the slightest grain of humanity will be moved to tears by this picture of this beautiful child and the realization that her life was lost on that flight, just like the lives of all other victims. This picture of this wonderful beautiful amazed gazing baby has become symbolic for the lives lost, for the pain of their loved ones, for the emptiness caused by the lives which were taken so abruptly.
There was picture of the crash site of Flight MH17, showing a child’s shirt with the print I <3 Amsterdam as it was found spread on the fields immediately after the crash. This picture expressed best what was lost on Flight MH17. Innocent lives, abruptly ended. Leaving their loved ones with nothing but memories and pain.
Both pictures symbolize the impact of these horrible incidents, symbolize the pain of the next of kin, and as such, they are an appeal to everyone who thinks to have the right to report on these incidents in one way or the other. An appeal to understand and accept that under certain circumstances, the desire for attention or to sell copies should or even must be preceded by the respect for the pain and grieve of the loved ones and friends of the victims. The understanding that these pictures make clear how deep the pain is over the lost lives and that each piece of unqualified or unsubstantiated information only extends this pain. Unfortunately, this appeal is unheard by most!
Disturbing similarities in information
There are some very disturbing similarities between the streams of information in the early days after the crash of Flight MH17 and the crash of Flight 7K9268. For starters, that the actual cause of the crash is neither known nor confirmed doesn’t stop the media from publishing their so called expert opinions about what did and didn’t cause the crash. On Social Media, the stream of “expert opinions” is even bigger and more confronting for those who have lost the people they loved and wish they could continue to love for many years to come.
Another similarity is that various parties involved in the actual investigation have forgotten their obligation towards the victims and their loved ones, and have already started to make public statements and express opinions. And all that even before the first preliminary investigation is concluded. Just try to imagine that you lost someone on that flight and are informed through the press about contradicting statements. One moment, you are told that there was a technical issue and the pilots have requested permission for an emergency landing and the following day you are informed through the same press channels from another source that this apparently never happened. And less than an hour later, there is a statement claiming that the plane, on which your loved ones lost their lives, could have been brought down by external causes. And to make it worse, there are numerous publications about “confidential sources” claiming that certain things have or have not been seen on satellites and all of this is of course related to the cause of these crashes.
A close friend of mine personally knows the uncle and father of victims of Flight MH17 and has experienced himself how every time something was published about the crash these people were thrown back into the depths of their grieving and pain. Another friend published a touching and heartbreaking open letter from someone who lost a family member on Flight MH17, in which she describes how much it hurts her to read claims and opinions about what happened and on the other hand the lack of information and transparency by the Dutch Government. These are just 2 examples of the pain which is caused for the ones who have to learn to accept that lives were taken from them. The same applies to those who now have to deal with the loss of lives on Flight 7K9268.
Accountable for information
Tabloids don’t care about this or anything else and all we can and should do is boycott them, put them out of business by not spending a cent or second on their malicious diarrhea of fiction under the cover of “news”! Whomever takes their gossips and innuendo seriously is to blame themselves and those millions who buy their nonsense filled toilet paper should but never will understand that they are actually sponsoring nonsense which can’t even be qualified as propaganda.
In all honesty, we can’t blame the serious press for their attempts to inform and use the information available to them but we can demand the press to be more cautious towards the suffering of the ones who have lost the lives of the ones dear to them. To at least understand and respect, that innuendo and invalidated information will only increase the pain of the ones who have to deal with the losses after these horrible incidents. There are moments where rushing to have the scoop on some bit of information should not be the highest priority and incidents like Flight MH17 and Flight 7K9268 are such moments!
The sources which provide this information, contradicting statements and invalidated “conclusions” are the root cause which should be addressed and the handling and provisioning of information around Flight 7K9268 shows that nothing has changed after Flight MH17 and nothing was done to eliminate or reduce the painful impact on the family, loves ones and friends of the victims. The ones we should all care for most if we would have just some humanity left in us, all of us!
The recommendation to ICAO
Two disasters with commercial airlines have shown that the ICAO can not rely on self-regulation and restrain in such manners so there should be a formal regulation. A recommendation that the DSB has missed in their report so I take it upon myself to write that recommendation.
- Binding rules are to be implemented to enforce all parties involved in the investigation of the incident to refrain from formal and informal statements about the cause of the incident prior to concluding the (preliminary) investigation.
- Binding rules are to be implemented to enforce that information about the ongoing investigation and the results of such investigation are only to be distributed through the organization formally in charge of the investigation.
- Binding rules are to be implemented to enforce prohibiting ICAO member states from making formal and informal statements about the incident or causes of the incident.
- Binding rules are to be implemented to enforce that the investigative committee in charge of the investigation appoints a committee member who is responsible to represent the interests of the next of kin of the victims.
- Binding rules are to be implemented to enforce that the next of kin of the victims is briefed in person and in a closed session about the results of the (preliminary) investigation prior to publishing these results.
TO ICAO MEMBER STATES:
- All ICAO Member States are obligated to provide all available information related to the incident and possible causes to the investigative committee in charge of the investigation upon availability and appropriate declassification of such information.
- All ICAO Member States are to refrain from formal and informal statements related to the incident and possible causes of the incident unless called upon by the investigative committee in charge of the investigation.
- All ICAO Member States are to ensure that aviation related manufacturers, service providers and investigative institutions registered in their territory are to refrain from formal and informal statements related to the incident and possible causes of the incident unless called upon by the investigative committee in charge of the investigation.
What the DSB did point out extensively are the risks of flying over conflict zones and issued detailed recommendations for future regulations and risk management to avoid incidents like occurred with Flight MH17. Should any or every of the now free flowing statements about an external cause for the crash of Flight 7K9268 be true, it needs to be addressed also, that the DSB mentioned the situation and risks in the Sinai in their final report on Flight MH17:
What we can conclude at this moment in time can be summarized as follows:
- The investigation into the incident and the cause is ongoing and therefor, every statement about the cause is premature.
- The family, loved ones and friends of the victims suffer under the streams of unconfirmed and invalidated information.
- After Flight MH17, no effective measure have been implemented to ensure that the next of kin of the victims is protected against harming information in the press and social media.
One can without consequences disrespect and harm the victims and their loved ones to fulfill one’s own needs for attention, to sell copies or get an audience. One can without consequences precede one’s own need to talk without even knowing over the need to know by the ones who lost their loved ones. One can spread harmful lies about Flight MH17 and Flight 7K9268 on Facebook without consequences as long as one doesn’t publish a picture of a nipple…
I will wait for the formal investigation report and ignore every unqualified bit of information. I can afford to do so because I am not personally involved in this tragedy. The ones who have lost their loved ones on this flight don’t have that luxury. They hurt over their loss and they want to know, they have the right to know. Their pain is extended with every piece of misleading and confusing information. To everyone who doesn’t have the upbringing to respect them and their grieve, I can only say this: