Inquiry Commission on the Collapse of an Overpass
The overpass of a major highway collapsed, causing the death of six individuals. An investigation was initiated and blame was quickly placed on government officials and those responsible for monitoring and maintaining the construction of the overpass. Media pressure intensified to such an extent that the government had no choice but to establish a public inquiry commission on the collapse.
PROI member Role:
A PROI Worldwide Americas Crisis Group partner was engaged to protect the reputation of high-ranking civil servants and maintain the credibility of the government agency and its ability to oversee infrastructures and weather-challenged road systems.
Our team developed an overall communications strategy to address the crisis and coordinated public information sessions to maintain transparency throughout the investigation. Our team members focused on:
- Reducing the impact of future testimonies;
- Highlighting the competence and experience of the involved government experts;
- Coaching witnesses on key points and messages;
- Providing strategic consultation to the government team;
- Managing media relations during the inquiry sessions and providing information to the public in a transparent manner; and
- Preparing for the government’s reaction to the Commission’s report.
All post-event surveys showed that the image and reputation of the government and public trust remained unscathed from this potentially catastrophic event. The integrity of the system was preserved and no civil servants were blamed. We also received praise from the media for quick and open access to information sources and documents.