The PR team at Malaysia Airlines has been under fire in recent days with the Telegraph newspaper today describing the actions of the airline and the Malaysian government as a “masterclass in how not to deal with the aftermath of an incident".
But how do you prepare for an unprecedented disaster – a Black Swan event that has no case study to refer to in the crisis management manual?
This desperately sad incident has no precedent. No plane has ever been missing for so long without wreckage being found. Combine that with the multitude of civil, defence and private organisations involved, the international scale of the effort and the fact that the traditional methods for tracking the plane had been switched off and I imagine the PR team were tearing pages out of the crisis comms manual with every hour that passed.