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July 12th, 2013
10:58 AM ET

NTSB chief's surprising background

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman is the face of the investigation into the crash of Asiana Flight 214.

She’s a wife, a mother of three and a triathlete. Hersman has also competed in races like the Warrior Dash, a five-kilometer “mud run” complete with an obstacle course designed to test your strength and stamina.

Friends who watch her crisscross the country leading NTSB investigations call her an expert multi-tasker.

“My guess is, when she gets that call, she’s already prepared two to three days of meals,” says former West Virginia Governor Bob Wise, who hired Hersman as an intern when she attended Virginia Tech. Hersman than served as a congressional aide to Wise from 1992-1999.

Hersman doesn’t have a pilot’s license, but is the daughter of a former Air Force pilot and she does have prior experience with transportation issues.

After working for Wise, she served as a senior adviser to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation before joining the NTSB in 2004. Five years later, President Obama appointed her chairman.

She’s been on the scene of more than 20 major transportation accidents including the last commercial plane crash in the U.S, the 2009 Colgan Air crash near Buffalo, New York.

But she hasn’t avoided criticism. The Airline Pilots Association sounded the alarm saying the NTSB was releasing too much information too soon about the Asiana 214 crash. A firm believer in transparency, Hersman continues to provide information to the public.

RELATED STORY: NTSB: 2 Asiana pilots call for landing to be aborted

soundoff (One Response)
  1. TonyBlair

    Is she the Chairman or Chairwoman?

    July 13, 2013 at 6:11 pm |

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