Preliminary report on the INEM helicopter accident investigation

Following the accident with the INEM helicopter on December 15, which killed four people, the National Civil Protection Authority (ANPC) has presented the preliminary report of the investigation process determined by the Minister of Internal Administration.

The report points to flaws in NAV and 112 in INEM helicopter crash

According to the preliminary report of the National Civil Protection Authority (ANPC) the response time following the accident last Saturday, may have been compromised by delays in communication by NAV and 112.

According to the document, both NAV Portugal and the Operational Center of Norte – 112 (CONOR) did not make contact with the coordination centre of the Portuguese Air Force “with the necessary timing, and this could have compromised the response time of the search response and rescue”

The report published today (18th December 2018) by the ANPC emphasizes that this was “an absolutely exceptional occurrence”. The report points to several flaws in the way the various authorities reacted to the accident that resulted in the death of the four occupants.

From the outset, NAV Portugal for 20 minutes, from 19.20 to 19.40 hours, developed its own procedures, “to the detriment of compliance with the provisions of the National Operational Directive.” The report also points the finger at CONOR (112) who, “after contacting citizens, did not warn the CDOS of Porto, giving preference to the dispatch of means of the security forces and did not initiate proceedings with the ANPC to restrict the search area “.

It concludes that “contact with the Rescue Coordination Centre of the Portuguese Air Force to identify a possible accident with an aircraft, both by NAV Portugal and CONOR (112) was not carried out with the necessary timing and could have compromised the response time of the search and rescue means “.

The preliminary report of the ANPC also stresses that the weather conditions and the terrain were determining factors for carrying out the searches

In view of the conclusions of the 15 page preliminary report, the Minister for Home Affairs stated the following actions will be taken:

  • sending the report to the Prime Minister;
  • sending the report to the Minister of National Defence and to the Minister of Planning and Infrastructures to clarify the circumstances of non-compliance with the procedures set forth in Operational Directive No. 4 – Air Force Integrated Accident Response Device by the Air Force and NAV;
  • sending the report to the Minister of Health;
  • sending the report to the Attorney General of the Republic for the proper investigation

The Minister of Internal Administration also directed the ANPC, in coordination with the Air Force, NAV, PSP, GNR, the Porto Civil Protection District Commission and the Valongo City Council, to thoroughly examine the circumstances surrounding the communication of the occurrence and the mobilization of resources aimed at fully clarifying the facts and the presentation of proposals for correction of applicable procedures and norms.

The preliminary assessment of the wreckage that has been possible so far indicates that the aircraft crash occurred following a collision with an existing broadcasting antenna in the area,” he revealed in a note sent to Lusa, the Office for the Prevention and Investigation of Accidents with Aircraft and Railroad Accidents (GPIAAF).

“This collision may have been caused by a number of possible causes, which can be duly clarified only after all necessary information has been gathered and in the course of further investigation.”