Here's an example of an excellent response to a near-tragedy.
In many cases, the tendency is for public relations people to back off when the news appears to be bad. However, if you take the right perspective, you can get the general public to see it in that light as well.
Here's an expanded look at the statement the spokeswoman for Andalusia Enterprises gave to a Birmingham television station:
"We're really devastated. This is our first major accident in 25 to 30 years. We are thanking God no one got hurt in this one. Bridges can be replaced but lives can't."
Let's look at the three elements expressed.
"We're really devastated."
Right off the top, the first reaction is similar to the reaction many viewers and listeners would have. This creates a sense of empathy.
"This is our first major accident in 25 to 30 years."
A great follow-up sentence, that quickly introduces an enviable safety record. Had this part come first, it wouldn't have had the same impact. Just three more words in, though, and it's magic.
"We are thanking God no one got hurt in this one. Bridges can be replaced but lives can't."
A statement that insinuates that the company shares the same values everyone else does.
32 words, that the average person could memorize and recite (with sincerity) in 12 seconds. This is a winner.