The Committee for the Investigation of Air Accidents and Serious Incidents has been formed by the Government of the Republic of Northern Macedonia as an independent investigative body with the capacity of a legal entity aimed at conducting technical research into air accidents and serious incidents.
The funds and equipment needed to investigate accidents and serious incidents are provided by the Budget of the Republic of Northern Macedonia.
The Committee for the Investigation of Air Accidents and Serious Incidents is investigating accidents involving civilian aircraft or parachutes and performs tasks related to data collection and analysis and other tasks related to flight safety, especially for reducing aviation risks and preventing accidents, serious incidents and incidents, provided that these tasks do not affect the independence of the Committee.
The purpose of technical investigation of accidents, serious incidents or incidents is to improve air safety by gathering security information and determining the causes of those accidents, serious incidents or incidents and taking appropriate measures to prevent their re-occurrence.
The Committee, based on the accident investigation or serious incident, prepares safety recommendations it sends to the Civil Aviation Agency, aviation industry subjects and other interested parties.
Safety recommendations are not intended to create suspicion of guilt or responsibility for an air accident, serious incident or incident.
The Inquiry Committee shall send a copy of the final report to:
- Ministry of Transport and Communications;
- Civil Aviation Agency;
- The relevant ministry involved;
- The country of air registration;
- the country of the aviation operator;
- the country of design/construction of the aircraft;
- the country of aviation production;
- the country that has citizens killed or seriously injured in the air accident;
- the country that provided useful information or significant relief or experts;
- International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) for aviation with
MTOW> 2,250 kilograms;
- European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) and
- The European Commission.
The Investigation Committee shall submit the final report to the public prosecutor, the Interior Ministry and the insurance companies concerned in case of suspicion that a crime has been committed or at their request.
The committee consists of three investigators appointed by the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, one of whom is appointed as the president.
In the event of an accident or serious incident, the President of the Committee hires external experts from the field of aviation or foreign investigative bodies from civil aviation or other bodies qualified to investigate aviation accidents or serious incidents.
For each accident or serious incident, a chief investigator is appointed by the Chairman of the Committee.
When carrying out the investigation, the investigators from the Investigation Committee must have an official identification card that confirms their capacity and authority.
Investigators and external experts have the following rights and competences:
- free and unhindered access to the scene of the accident or incident, as well as to the aircraft, its components or its wreckage,
- recording of evidence,
- controlled removal of residues or components for examination or analysis;
- instant access and use of the contents of the “black box” or any other records,
- immediate access to the results of the tests of the persons involved in the operation of the aircraft or to the tests carried out on samples taken by those persons,
- to examine witnesses,
- free access to all relevant information or records held by the owner, carrier (operator/user of/of the aircraft) or manufacturer of the aircraft, by the authorities responsible for civil aviation or for operating the airport or by any other relevant entities,
- access to the results of the examination (autopsy) of the bodies of the victims or of the tests carried out on samples taken from the bodies of the victims and
- access to information from the accident investigation established by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the competent courts and the public prosecutor’s office.
The Ministry of the Interior, the competent courts, the public prosecutor’s office and other subjects in the investigation of the accident or serious incident must provide the investigators with unhindered access to the necessary operational, technical and legal information and documents for the investigation.
The aircraft, parts of the aircraft and objects that were transported by the aircraft, the parachute or objects that are suspected of being a possible cause of the aircraft accident, may not be removed or moved without the permission of the chief investigator except in the case when it is necessary to save human life or in other exceptional cases when it is necessary to prevent the occurrence of greater harmful consequences.
Investigators and outside experts of an air accident or serious incident will examine any person they believe could provide relevant information to the investigation and may examine objects, documents, records and data from electronic devices.