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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 666-96
December 09, 1996

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE SAFETY RECORD

Secretary of Defense William J. Perry announced today that the Department of Defense has completed its safest year ever in FY 96. The Department views this success as particularly noteworthy considering the current highly demanding operational tempo, the many worldwide deployments, and the continuing restructuring.

The number of aircraft lost to accidents reached an all- time low of 67, down from 69 in the previous year. The aircraft major accident rate dropped slightly from 1.53 to 1.50 accidents per 100,000 flying hours. This continues a steady six year declining accident trend. Since this statistic is a rate, it takes into account variations in flying hours and reductions in personnel.

On-duty fatalities which includes military members, DoD Civil Service employees, and bystanders dropped from 206 to 171. Most of these deaths were the result of aviation accidents, where fatalities increased from 85 to 108, of which 34 occurred during the crash of the military plane carrying former Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown and his traveling party.

Off-duty accidental military deaths dropped from 376 to 293, an all-time low. The largest improvement was in the reduction of private motor vehicle fatalities.

In an organization as large as the Department of Defense, it would be easy to tally these deaths as just another set of grim statistics and ease back on the continual emphasis on ensuring the safety of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and civilians that make the Department the respected and effective institution that it is, said Perry.

The reality is that each such loss is a tragedy, both to those families left behind and the larger family' that is the Department of Defense. The Department is particularly proud of the continued reductions in this harm to our people, added Perry.

Editor's note: Attached are charts showing the trends for: major aircraft accident rates and destroyed aircraft, uniformed member fatalities from FY 80 through FY 96, and off-duty PMV fatalities. Additional information can be found on DoD's Safety and Occupational Health Web Home Page at:http://www.acq.osd.mil/ie/safety.htm