October 28, 2021

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CRASH INVESTIGATION: AIB pleads for patience, presentation of facts not fallacy

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Accident Investigation Bureau’s Lagos office, MMIA, Ikeja

The Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, has pleaded for patience and exemption in the cacophony of rebuttals and commentaries that greeted its preliminary report recently released, while the bureau swiftly punctured the claim by the operator of the ill-fated helicopter, Quorum Aviation, which crashed at Opebi, Ikeja, Lagos on 28th August, 2020.

AIB in a terse media statement revealed it had no issue with the operator but the regulatory body, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, which is the custodian of data and records concerning activities in the industry and whose information and records the bureau relied on in its preliminary findings.

The statement called attention to the veracity of the claim the letter from the operator purportedly written to NCAA was meant to clear but seems fallen short.

AIB statement indicated that, “the letter, purportedly written to the NCAA by the Operator and released to the public, does not bear any of the normal markers of a letter which has passed through the official process of the Regulatory body. It has no official stamps nor proof of receipt by the NCAA”.

It went furthermore, “the Operator has not shown the response of the NCAA to this purported application, nor have they tendered evidence of the approval of their request for extension/ exemption”.

Making frantic effort to clear doubt and situate this contentious issue in the peoples’ court, the investigator further provoked rational thinking by adding that, “however, the NCAA in her response to AIB’s enquiry on the subject states that, the Authority does not have in its record any evidence that the deceased or his employer applied for the exemption provided for by the AOL (DG18/20) and AOL (DG20/20) before the accident occurred on the 28th of August, 2020”

Moreover, AIB alluded to what substance should emanate from the operator in achieving the clean bill of health struggling to establish by the operator, when it volunteered further that, “the onus is on the Operator to prove that its purported letter was appropriately received by the NCAA, and that the relevant approval was obtained”

FACTS

However, the investigation bureau reiterated the following facts its investigation has so far unearthed;

“It is imperative to note that Preliminary reports only contain details of the initial facts, discussions, inspection of the accident site and the wreckage and findings surrounding the occurrences, so far gathered.

The ill-fated helicopter had departed Port Harcourt Military Airport en-route Lagos but crashed a few minutes before reaching its destination, leaving the pilot and two other occupants fatally injured.

Preliminary investigations reveal, among other things, that there was no fuel in the helicopter’s tanks even as the helicopter had no fuel jettisoning capability.

The investigation is still in process.

Members of the public and the media are hereby enjoined to desist from hearsay and wait for the final report which will be released soon”

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