If you are in communication with an aircraft in distress, handle the emergency and coordinate and direct the activities of assisting facilities. Transfer this responsibility to another facility only when you feel better handling of the emergency will result.
When you receive information about an aircraft in distress, forward detailed data to the center in whose area the emergency exists.
1. Centers serve as the central points for collecting information, for coordinating with SAR, and for conducting a communications search by distributing any necessary ALNOTs concerning:
Overdue or missing IFR aircraft.
Aircraft in an emergency situation occurring in their respective area.
Aircraft on a combination VFR/IFR or an air-filed IFR flight plan and 30 minutes have passed since the pilot requested IFR clearance and neither communication nor radar contact can be established with it. For SAR purposes, these aircraft are treated the same as IFR aircraft.
Overdue or missing aircraft which have been authorized to operate in accordance with special VFR clearances.
2. Notifying the center about a VFR aircraft emergency allows provision of IFR separation if considered necessary.
If the aircraft involved is operated by a foreign air carrier, notify the center serving the departure or destination point, when either point is within the U.S., for relay to the operator of the aircraft.
The ARTCC must be responsible for receiving and relaying all pertinent ELT signal information to the appropriate authorities.
When consideration is given to the need to escort an aircraft in distress, evaluate the close formation required by both aircraft. Special consideration should be given if the maneuver takes the aircraft through the clouds.
Before a determination is made to have an aircraft in distress be escorted by another aircraft, ask the pilots if they are familiar with and capable of formation flight.
Do not allow aircraft to join up in formation during emergency conditions, unless:
(a) The pilots involved are familiar with and capable of formation flight.
(b) They can communicate with one another, and have visual contact with each other.
If there is a need for aircraft that are not designated as search and rescue aircraft to get closer to one another than radar separation standards allow, the maneuver must be accomplished, visually, by the aircraft involved.