Lagos Helicopter Crash: Full Investigation Commences, As Bristow Suspends Operations

Lagos Helicopter Crash: Full investigation commences – AIB

The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), has begun full investigation to unravel the cause of the Bristow helicopter crash in Lagos State.

This followed the recovery of its Black box.

AIB Commissioner, Dr Felix Abali, said this disclosure when he spoke with aviation correspondents while displaying the device at the bureau’s headquarters in Lagos.

The Sikosky 76 helicopter marked 5N-BGD, crashed into the Lagos Lagoon as it approached its destination at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, in Ikeja.

Six of the 12 passengers on board the helicopter died while six others were rescued and taken to hospital for treatment.

Abali said that the AIB would download information from the black box and analyse it, which would help it in getting its report before making it public.

“We are still in custody of these two devices and we will take them to our laboratory in Abuja.

“The information will be downloaded before it is analysed to retrieve vital information in preparation for the final report.

“The flight data recorder will show us the speed, altitude of the helicopter, while the cockpit voice recorder will reveal the conversation between the pilots and the control tower in Lagos,” he said.

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Abali said that he could not be definite on when the investigation would be concluded as it could take any dimension.

“Like any other investigation, we cannot give a specific time-line as it can take any twists and turns.

“All we can do to hasten the investigation is that we have competent investigators that will do their best, but we cannot tell when we will finish the report,” he said.

Abali added that investigation had been extended to retrieving documents and other materials from Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and the airline operator.

He said that other information would be released to the public as they unfold and according to International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Annexe 13.

The commissioner had earlier announced the recovery of the flight recorders, popularly known as black box, of the ill-fated Bristow helicopter.

Abali said that the search party, led by Julius Berger, with the assistance of a hired diver, located the recorders.

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The flight recorder, also called black box contains the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and the Flight Data Recorder (FDR).

Meanwhile, Bristow Helicopter Limited on Thursday suspended operations after one of its choppers ditched into the Lagos Lagoon, killing six of the 12 persons on board.

The airlines Head of Communications, Cornelius Onuoha, who announced the decision in a statement, in Lagos, said the suspension was in line with aviation standards.

According to him, the suspension is to allow proper investigation to be carried out on the incident, to avert further occurrence.

He said that appropriate decision concerning its operation, would be communicated as the investigation continued.

Onuoha explained that the airline had informed the next of kin of the affected families that lost their members in the crash.

He said that it was too early to predict the cause of the unfortunate incident.

“It is much too early to talk about the cause of this incident. It will take weeks or months of investigation to determine why the incident happened.

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“The investigation will be conducted by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and we will cooperate fully.

“We will not speculate about what may have been the cause, and we encourage others not to speculate. Our pilots are trained to the highest standards in the industry,” he said.

In a statement earlier by its regional Manager, West Africa, Duncan Moore, the airline said the aircraft, a Sikorsky S-76C+, was returning from a drilling rig offshore.

“Preliminary information indicates that the aircraft carried 10 passengers and a crew of two.

“The company is in the process of collecting pertinent information and will release details as soon as they are available,’’ the statement said.

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