- About the independent technical investigation

Technical investigation of aviation, railway and marine accidents

This publication was compiled for those persons and organisations which are either directly or indirectly involved in the technical investigation of aviation, railway and marine accidents. Our aim is to inform you about the most important questions concerning the process of technical investigations.

Transportation Safety Bureau (TSB)

Transportation Safety Bureau (TSB) is an independent investigating body. Its activity is based on Regulation (EU) No 996/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the investigation and prevention of accidents and incidents in civil aviation and Act CLXXXIV of 2005 on the technical investigation of aviation, railway and marine accidents and incidents and on its implementory decrees. The competence of TSB - as a central office - extends to the whole of Hungary. TSB is supervised by the Minister for Transport. TSB shall not be ordered concerning the conduct of technical investigations.

The objective of the technical investigation

The objective of the technical investigation is to reveal the causes and circumstances of transport accidents in order to prevent similar cases in the future.
It is not the purpose of this activity to apportion blame or liability. Accordingly, the reports compiled by TSB preserve the anonymity of the parties concerned. Furthermore, TSB shall not be obliged to make the data having come to their knowledge in the course of the investigation available to other authorities (regarding which the owner of the data could have refused their disclosure pursuant to the relevant act).

Act CLXXXIV of 2005 stipulates cases when TSB shall initiate an independent technical investigation.  These cases are: any fatal aviation, railway and marine accident as well as accidents without fatalities but resulting in substantial material damage and/or are of significant risk to transport safety.
TSB may also investigate other transport occurrences which - in its judgement - would have resulted in accidents in other circumstances, or when the occurrence has a high impact on the transport system as a whole.
TSB may initiate an investigation upon request from transport companies, infrastructure managers, other safety authorities, or accident investigating bodies of other states.
The scope of authority of TSB extends to the technical investigation of occurrences involving state aircraft as well.

How does TSB work?

TSB maintains a 24/7 duty service which receives occurrence reports from aircraft/airport/infrastructure operators or other concerned persons and parties.
The relevant legal acts ensure that the person reporting an occurrence cannot be put at a disadvantage by his/her employer on account of his/her report.
Upon receiving the occurrence report, TSB investigators initiate the technical investigation - if it deemed necessary - and conduct the accident site survey.
The relevant law provides TSB investigators the right to have access to the accident site even when it is labelled as a crime scene, and to conduct the site survey simultaneously with other authorities.
TSB investigators record the evidence found at the site of the accident. They can commence controlled removal of evidence for further examination and/or analysis. They have the right to interview the concerned persons and eyewitnesses, and to have access to all documentation and data - concerning the vehicles, crew or the traffic - which might help reveal the cause(s) of the accident.  TSB may request or make a copy of these documents and data.  TSB investigators may also have immediate access and use of the contents of data recorders and other recordings for the technical investigation.
If another state is involved in the accident (either on the account of the vehicle or the nationality of the injured) TSB shall inform the accident investigating body of the state concerned. Its representative may participate in the investigation.
Orders given in the course of the investigation (e.g.: call-in for an interview, custody of evidence, etc.) are binding, and may be appealed in court only.

Who can be a member of the Investigating Committee (IC)?

The Investigator-in-Charge can only be a government official of TSB. The IC may also invite external experts to participate in the investigation. By no means shall the members of the IC be related to the case under investigation.

What happens to the findings of the investigation?

Upon closing the investigation, the IC compiles a draft report which is sent to the relevant parties who may make reflections within 60 days from the receipt of the report. The Investigator-in-Charge is entitled to either include the reflections in the final report or handle them as dissents.  
The final reports are published on the website of TSB. Anonymity means that the final reports do not contain the names of the concerned persons.
Final reports are not binding, nor shall an appeal be lodged against them.
The IC may issue safety recommendations within the final report addressed to any of the concerned parties. The IC may also recommend immediate preventive actions in the course of the investigation.
The addressees are not obliged to accept and implement the safety recommendations, however, if they decide to accept them, they shall inform TSB of further actions taken. In case of rejection, an explanation as to why they rejected the recommendations shall be given to TSB.
TSB reports to the Government annually on the experiences gained during the investigations.

What happens when a Hungarian vehicle is involved in an accident abroad?

According to international agreements, investigation of accidents shall be conducted by the state in the territory or airspace of which the accident occurred. States concerned in the account of vehicles or injured persons have the right to participate in the investigation (and TSB usually does so). The Hungarian operator may delegate an advisor via TSB; or it may suggest the involvement of TSB in the investigation.

Assistance to the injured and the relatives

It is the intention of TSB to provide professional and humane help and support for relatives of people who lost their lives in an accident as well as for those who were injured in an accident.  TSB informs them on the investigation process and provides them an opportunity to express their views regarding the investigation.