1. The National Transportation Safety Board is an independent federal agency and not part of the Department of Transportation.
2. The NTSB investigates all civil aviation incidents and certain types of accidents that occur on other forms of transportation, including railroads and highways.
3. The board has five members, who are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate. They serve five-year terms.
4. Established in 1967 to conduct independent investigations, the NTSB issues findings that are used solely to improve transportation safety and cannot be entered as evidence in court.
5. Each year, the NTSB investigates about 2,000 aviation incidents and about 500 accidents on other modes of transportation, such as rail, highway, marine, and pipeline.
6. Each investigation is led by a "Go Team," which must travel to an accident site as quickly as possible. Members of these teams must be available 24 hours a day while on duty.
7. Aviation Go Teams respond only if an aviation accident occurs in the United States, in its territories, or in international waters. But NTSB will send a representative if a U.S.-manufactured plane or carrier is involved.
8. The NTSB does not investigate criminal activity. Other agencies take over if an incident is a crime.
9. The NTSB is currently looking into what happened on Air France Flight 447, which broke apart in flight on June 1, killing 228 people.
10. The agency is also investigating the cause of the Metrorail crash in Washington that killed nine people on June 22.
- Aviation International News