Figure 6-9.News reporters photograph damage incurred when a T-2C Buckeye crashed into the superstructure of the USS Lexington.
4. AccuracyPictures that show half-truths are
unacceptable in aircraft accident photography. Do not
make pictures that hide detail or distort the scene.
Remember, all photographic evidence must be accurate.
It is nearly always necessary to crawl around or
under the aircraft wreckage to get pictures. You should
arrive at the scene appropriately clothed in a complete,
comfortable working uniform, which you do not mind
Procedures at the Scene of the Accident
Current OPNAV instructions specify that the
surviving crew members (if physically able to do so) or
the first military personnel arriving at the scene of an
aircraft accident must take charge until relieved by
proper authority. At the scene of the accident, you will
be working for the officer in charge (OIC). You report
to and receive your orders from the OIC. In many cases,
it may be possible for you to accompany the crash rescue
party to the accident. The sooner an experienced and
qualified photographer can get to the scene of an
accident, the better the possibilities of acquiring more
valuable photographic evidence. You should commence
taking pictures immediately upon arrival. Pictures made
before extensive fire damage can reveal information that
might otherwise be lost.
Safety of personnel involved is of primary concern
in every aircraft accident. Rescue operations and
removal of occupants from the aircraft should be among
your first photographs. When medical treatment is being
given to survivors of the accident, photograph it not only
for documenting the treatment but for the purpose of
isolating factual information on human failure.
Casualties should also be photographed in the positions
they occupy when you arrive on the scene. Photographs
of the dead should be made to show the location of the
wreckage and the position of each body in relation to it.
You should be advised of any classified material
involved, and it should be either covered or removed
before photographs are made unless it is important to
the accident investigation. This is a situation where close
liaison with the OIC is absolutely necessary.
News reporters may gather at the scene and because
you, as a photographer, have something in common with
them, they will naturally seek you out. Do not attempt
to tell a reporter what to write. Do not make a statement,
express an opinion, or provide information about the
accident (fig. 6-9).
In almost every accident, a certain minimum
number of photographs is usually required. These apply
to automobile, motorcycle, personal injury, or any type