Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act

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The Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act of 1996 (ADFAA) was enacted in 1996 to provide information, services and support to families of passengers involved in commercial aviation accidents (both domestic and international) occurring within the U.S., its territories, and territorial seas. The Act and its requirements apply to July 6, 2013 crash of Asiana Flight 214.

In alignment with the ADFAA, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has formulated the Federal Family Assistance Plan For Aviation Disasters, the purpose of which is to set forth "how air carriers and federal agencies should respond to an aviation accident involving a significant number of passenger fatalities and/or injuries."

The NTSB has the primary responsibility for carrying out the duties required by this law. The responsibilities and their benefits to the public include:

  • Providing the name and telephone number of the designated director of family support services who will be a contact point within the federal government for families of passengers involved in the disaster, and serve as a liaison between the airline and the families;
  • Designation of an experienced independent nonprofit organization to coordinate emotional care and support for the passengers’ families;
  • Providing counseling and mental health services;
  • Contacting the families of the victims and meeting with family members who traveled to the crash location, and providing travel assistance and physical care while there;
  • Coordinating with family members to arrange memorial services;
  • Ensuring that the airlines submit plans to the NTSB for addressing the needs of family members including publishing a reliable toll-free number and providing staff to handle calls, provide information and answer questions; contacting and coordinating with family members about identification, retention and return of the victims’ personal belongings;
  • Management of a Family Assistance Center (FAC) set up by the airlines. This is a meeting place (typically in a hotel or conference center) for crash survivors, family members and friends to receive investigation updates, management of personal belongings, and crisis counseling services; and
  • Coordination of disaster response resources of federal, state, local and volunteer agencies.

Transportation Disaster Assistance (TDA) Contact Information
NTSB, 490 L’Enfant Plaza, SW, Washington, D.C. 20594
(800) 683-9369; (202) 314-6185; Fax (202) 459-9402