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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Boeing crash and a black box ballet in Mangalore!

TRIUMPH: An official holding the black box of the crashed Boeing 737-800 Air India Express flight, after it was salvaged from the debris in Mangalore on May 25, 2010. Photo: t-arch-2010

TARMAK007 EDITORIAL

IT only happens in India. And as they say, IT doesn’t get bigger than this. Sadly, IT happened at a spot that snuffed the lives of 158 and dented many more. The IT in question is the event that emerged out of Mangalore on Tuesday morning. The breaking news of the moment was: FDR found intact.
People were congratulating each other. Smiles all over. A sense of great achievement. News channels reported non-stop about the ‘major find of the day.’ Shoving and pushing at will to get a glimpse of the secret box. Adding to the drama was a light drizzle, as if summoned to douse the heat.
Emerging out was a man lifting the ‘precious metal piece’ that could throw light into the reasons of the crash. He lifted the black box in one hand and waved in all direction. Left to right. Then right to left. Amidst security officials, media personnel and the search and rescue team, the man of the moment stood like a sports star holding the black-box like a coveted trophy during a presentation ceremony. Triumph Time!
These were possibly the first (as media would put it live and exclusive) visuals mankind could ever see that of a black box getting so much of attention. If you still feel what’s wrong in doing so, then read on.
Minutes later a group of search teams were seen flashing victory symbols to the battery of media men. There were also mad scramble for splitting the owner of spotting the FDR. Media debates ranged over the exact spot from it was located; who found it; exact time; amount of debris on it; angle at which it lay and so on. Every TV channel tried their very best to educate the viewer of the significance of black-box. Its use, after every crash. What it can do and what it can’t. And as a result, the whole of India now know that color of black box is: Orange!
"What will all those who lost their loved ones think after seeing these scenes of ‘celebrations’? How much of significance is a recovery of a black-box to those who are still shell-shocked and mourning?," an airport official asked tarmak007, fafter witnessing the 'black-box ballet' in Mangalore.
If it is vital to investigation, which in this case it is, then the DGCA and Air India officials should have ensured some method in madness. Media has a job to do and are well within their rights to go to any accepted levels to get the first byte and exclusive visuals and it's but natural that at times things might go out of hands as seen on TV channels. A DGCA official said that the unusual exhibition of black-box was due to immense media pressure, who were shouting repeatedly to get a glimpse of the equipment.
A Mangalore Airport official told
tarmak007
that the incident has left a bad taste and even one of the experts, who came from abroad to assist DGCA officials, is said to complained about the 'fanfare' associated with a sensitive operation.
Thank God, the official holding the black box didn’t plant a kiss on to it followed by a victory lap.
And, that could have been worse than the crash!

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