Investigation of the Crash of ValuJet Flight 592, the Relevant Stakeholders, Crisis System, and Cris...
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Investigation of the Crash of ValuJet Flight 592, the Relevant Stakeholders, Crisis System, and Crisis Mechanisms. Matt Williams Dr. Petkov LAC 130. Background. May 11, 1996 ValuJet flight 592 transporting 105 passengers and 5 crew members from Miami, Florida to Atlanta, Georgia

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Investigation of the Crash of ValuJet Flight 592, the Relevant Stakeholders, Crisis System, and Crisis Mechanisms

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Investigation of the crash of valujet flight 592 the relevant stakeholders crisis system and crisis mechanisms

Investigation of the Crash of ValuJet Flight 592, the Relevant Stakeholders, Crisis System, and Crisis Mechanisms

Matt Williams

Dr. Petkov

LAC 130


Background

Background

  • May 11, 1996

  • ValuJet flight 592 transporting 105 passengers and 5 crew members from Miami, Florida to Atlanta, Georgia

  • Shortly after takeoff, the McDonnell Douglas DC-9-32 crashed into the Florida Everglades

  • Resulted in the deaths of all 110 passengers aboard the aircraft


Background cont

Background (cont.)

  • Caused by a fire that started in the cargo area of the aircraft

  • The fire was ignited by oxygen generators

  • The oxygen tanks were the responsibility of SabreTech, ValuJet’s maintenance contractor

  • They were loaded onto the plane in five large boxes and labeled as COM (Company-Owned Material)

  • The required warnings for shipping hazardous materials were not on the boxes

  • The shipping ticket said that the canisters were empty

  • Some of the oxygen generators lacked safety caps for the firing pins


Background cont1

Background (cont.)

  • ValuJet failed to properly supervise the loading of cargo onto their aircraft

  • The airline assumed no responsibility for the crash

  • They were grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration for three months

  • ValuJet was forced to lay off employees and make pay cuts

  • They faced many lawsuits against the families of the victims


Background cont2

Background (cont.)

  • SabreTech was responsible for mislabeling and misrepresenting the oxygen generators

  • The implications of the containers being labeled as “empty” were that they were harmless

  • Also, ValuJet wasn’t qualified to transport oxygen in the first place, as it is classified as a hazardous chemical

  • Along with the lawsuits they faced, SabreTechfaced criminal charges, a $2 million fine, and $9 million in restitution


Relevant stakeholders

Relevant Stakeholders

  • Victims of the crash

  • Friends and family of victims

  • ValuJet

  • SabreTech

  • Federal Aviation Administration

  • Millions of people who vested interest in the crisis


Valujet before the crash

ValuJet Before the Crash

  • Extremely low budget

  • Flights cost immensely less than competition

  • Outsourced maintenance to cheap repair places, rather than having their own facilities and mechanics

  • More accidents and emergency landings than other airlines

  • Low quality flight experience


Changes in crisis system

Changes in Crisis System

  • In 1998, the Federal Aviation Administration issued new standards that increased both the detection and suppression of fire in cargo areas

  • ValuJet merged with AirTran Airways and kept the AirTran name


Works cited

Works Cited

  • FISHMAN, D. 1999. ValuJet Flight 592: Crisis Communication Theory Blended and Extended. Communication Quarterly. 47(Fall) 345-375

  • MACNEAL, E. 1997. Fatal Words. Et Cetera. (Spring)

  • ENGLEHARDT, K. 2004. Compassion Without Blame: Testing the Accident Decision Flow Chart With the Crash of ValuJet Flight 592. Journal of Public Relations Research. 16(2) 127-156


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