June 6, 2023

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Investigation report on Quorum’s helicopter crash to be ready in less than 30 days

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R-L: Engr. Akin Olateru, Commissioner/CEO, Accident Investigation Bureau, Mr. Tunji Okekunmbi, General Manager, Public Affairs, at media briefing

Preliminary findings on the reason for the crash on 28th August 2020, at Opebi area of Ikeja, Lagos Nigeria, of a Bell Helicopter 206-B III, Serial Number 3216, Engine Model Allison 250–C20B, with the Nationality registration Marks 5N-BQW operated by Quorum Aviation, will be made public in a couple of weeks before the month of September 2020 runs out.

The Commissioner and Chief Executive of Nigeria’s Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, Engr. Akin Olateru, made the bureau’s intention public at a media forum in the Aviation Safety House, at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, Ikeja, Lagos.

He doused the hues and cries making the rounds and the fears by a section of the general public that the helicopter was not fitted with Flight Data Recorder, FDR, and Cockpit Voice Recorder, CVR, popularly called black box, and that investigation may be hampered, by saying thsat type of helicopter was not required to have those facilities on board.

The AIB helmsman said, “we would like to clarify that AIB did not retrieve an FDR from the aircraft as the Bell 206 is certified at approximately 1,519kg (3,350lbs) and featured five seats. It does not meet the necessary criteria for an FDR, and was not featured with one”.

He however assured Nigerians and the international community that absence of both FDR and CVR will not in any way inhibit the thoroughness of the investigation as the bureau had begun eliciting vital information from the data bank of the control tower among other sources. 

Olateru explained that, “an FDR on the aircraft would have aided the investigation but, nevertheless, our world class trained investigators are competent to retrieve information about a crash from the wreckage and several other components of the aircraft, the site of the crash, communication with the ATC, and other documents on the aircraft and the crew”

Hence he announced that the bureau still wished “the public to know that we would still be amenable to receiving any video clip, relevant evidence, or information any members of the public may have of the accident, and which can assist us further with this investigation” He added that, all relevant stakeholders have been notified including the aircraft and engine manufacturers.

He reiterated that, “Accident Investigation is in phases and all procedures are performed in accordance with the Civil Aviation (Investigation of Air Accidents and Incidents) Regulations 2019 and the guidance of ICAO Annex 13. At this instance and in line with the phases of accident investigation processes, we are at the stage of evidence gathering”

While he commended the various emergency response organizations such as Nigerian Police Force, Fire Service, Nigeria Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, he made special mention of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, describing as outstanding its performance and the role it played in securing the recent crash site and controlling the crowd at the scene.

Akin Olateru however announced that, “in view of the role LASEMA played at the Bell 206-B3 crash site, AIB is looking at securing collaboration with the agency as a way to further strengthening the security at crash sites and of vital evidence that could aid our investigations”, he said.

He also cleared the air on the rumour about the air worthiness of the crashed helicopter by saying that, “From evidence gathered till date, the helicopter has a valid Certificate of Airworthiness (C of A) till October 29, 2020 and Quorum Aviation has a valid Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) that will expire November 20,2020”.

The AIB CEO however made an appeal to the media, the general public and the emergency aviation consultants against all manners commentaries on the crash when he urged that, “We would like to point out that investigations are currently ongoing and conjecture at this stage is detrimental to the process”

There is no iota of doubt that the terse warning for the sake of a robust air travel in Nigeria should suffice for the wise and patriotic Nigerians by cultivating a waiting until the month end when the preliminary report of the accident will be released.

It can be recalled that immediately after the crash, the Minister of Aviation, Capt. Hadi Sirika assured the general public that the crash investigation will be fast tracked and the findings will accordingly be made public. Needless to add that, the air transport industry and the general public need no more and no less from these pledges of aviation authorities representing the Nigerian government

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