According to the air accident investigations office, the public who removed pieces of helicopter from the National Institute of Emergency Medical (INEM) helicopter that fell on Saturday in Valongo municipality, causing four deaths, “may have hampered the investigation.”
Since Sunday, when a team from the Office of Aircraft Accident Prevention and Investigation (GPIAAF) initiated the expertise and data collection on the spot, those responsible were visible in television reports, in newspapers and in the media online, showing them taking pieces of debris from the helicopter.
“If they were taken [pieces of the wreck] while the perimeter was established, i.e. on day 16 [Sunday], it could have hampered the investigation.” If it was later, all relevant wreckage had already been recorded and collected by investigators, which in this case does not, “explains the GPIAAF, in a written response sent today to the Lusa agency.
The wreckage was scattered over the mountain range where the helicopter crashed for several hundred metres. The GPIAAF recalls that this action, in addition to being able to call into question the investigation, such removal is prohibited by law.
“In general, the information that can be extracted from the wreckage of an accident is fundamental to the investigation of the causes that gave rise to it and may even, in certain situations, be evidence of a crime, so that until the wreckage is properly registered and selected by investigators, nothing should be moved, except as strictly necessary for the relief of victims, “emphasizes the GPIAAF.
The office says that “upon arrival at the site, asked the PSP created two security perimeters in accordance with the applicable rules” in these cases.
“One around the main area of the wreckage and another outside, covering all the wreckage, considering that the necessity of presence of resources in each one of them is different.” The PSP established the said security perimeters accordingly. The topography of the terrain and configuration of access, these perimeters will have proved difficult to control completely, “adds the GPIAAF.
Lusa questioned the Metropolitan Command of the PSP of Porto at what time the security perimeter was set up and how it was possible for the public to access the site and take pieces of the helicopter that could be important for the investigation.
In response, the PSP Command of Porto reported that “communication management” regarding the helicopter crash “is being carried out by the National Civil Protection Authority”, who replied that “a minister of Internal Administration “, reason why” does not grant interviews on the subject “.
The Office of Prevention and Investigation of Accidents with Aircraft and Rail Accidents leaves an appeal to the population.
“In general, we appeal to people to not only to comply with the Law, but to apply common sense by those who are tempted to change the evidence of an accident, albeit unconsciously, which may obstruct the prevention of future accidents. Such actions may also put those involved at risk as the wreckage may be contaminated with hazardous substances or biological waste, “said the agency.