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NTSB wants better warnings for rescuers at aircraft accidents


First responders who don’t know how to look for and deactivate ballistic airframe parachutes and ejection seat rockets are endangering themselves when they head into aircraft crash sites, the National Transportation Safety Board is warning. While such hidden hazards haven’t caused any fatalities or injuries among rescuers, the NTSB said there is a growing risk, especially since more GA planes are equipped with ballistic parachutes that might not have been deployed before a crash. First responders already receive training on dealing with things like fuel spills and sharp objects at crash sites, but that’s not enough, the NTSB said. Efforts to pry apart an airframe to get at trapped occupants or remains could accidentally discharge parachute rockets or airbags, the NTSB said. The board cited an accident earlier this year in which an NTSB investigator warned first responders who wouldn’t have otherwise known that the aircraft’s ejection seat needed to be deactivated before recovering the remains of the pilot.