BY LAWANI MIKAIRU
Minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, yesterday, assured the public that investigation into the cause of the crash of Associated Airline plane conveying the remains of former Ondo State governor, Dr. Olusegun Agagu, for burial in Akure, will be thorough.
In a statement, Oduah said: “While it is too early to determine the cause of the accident, we urge the public to be patient while the investigation progresses.
“I assure the public that the investigation will be thorough and that our airspace remains safe and secure.”
The Embraer 120 aircraft, with registration number 5N-BJY operated by Associated Airlines on a private charter flight from Lagos to Akure, crashed shortly after take-off from the domestic wing of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport.
At departure, the crew of the chartered operation reported 20 persons on board, including crew.
The statement further said: “The Control Tower immediately activated the crash alarm of the airport as the first step of the Emergency Response Procedure.
“First Responders immediately proceeded to the crash site. FAAN Fire Service Department, ambulances and other relevant emergency apparatus successfully extinguished the fire within two minutes despite the surging crowd.
“The rescue effort secured six survivors and 14 fatalities. The six survivors were promptly transported to the hospital and are receiving appropriate medical care.
“Rescue Coordination and Trauma Centres have been set up at the annex of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, to provide necessary information and support.
“The Authorities are contacting families of the victims of this unfortunate incident, and upon completion, will make information about the identities of the victims public.
“The Federal Ministry of Aviation deeply commiserates with the families of the victims. Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this difficult time.
“The Black Box of the aircraft has been located and is in the custody of the Accident Investigation and Prevention Bureau which, with the cooperation of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and other relevant agencies, have commenced full investigation into the cause of the accident.”
Pilot could ‘ve done something— Capt Tito
Some ex-pilots warned, yesterday, that it was too early to speculate about the cause of the crash of Associated Airlines plane at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, but Captain Tito Omaghomi was quick to add that the pilot of the ill-fated aircraft ought to have steered it to land with one engine.
Tito actually said he was not ready to speak on the crash, saying people were never really comfortable with the truth.
Prodded further, Tito, a former DC-10 pilot with the defunct Nigeria Airways, said it would have been to the credit of the pilot if he had landed the aircraft safely at the loss of one engine of the turbo-prop twin-engine plane.
According to him, it is unfortunate that the pilot was not able to sustain the flight when the plane developed technical problem.
On his part, Captain Dele Ore said it would be hasty to say what caused the crash, saying so many conditions could have been responsible for the pilot’s inability to steer the plane to safety after it developed engine failure.
Ore, former Director of Operations of the defunct Nigeria Airways, said such conditions as temperature and wind could have made it difficult for the pilot to return the aircraft to base, having noticed a problem.
He said: “It could be that the temperature was not right; it could be the wind condition was not right at the time of the crash. In fact, so many things could have gone wrong.”
Technical report, history of the crashed airliner
Date: Thursday, October, 3 2013
Type: Embraer 120RT Brasilia Operator: Associated Aviation Registration: 5N-BJY
C/n / msn: 120174
First flight: 1990
Engines: 2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PW118
Crew: Fatalities / Occupants: 7 Passengers: Fatalities / Occupants: 13
Total: Fatalities:16/Occupants: 20
Airplane damage: Destroyed
Airplane fate: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location: Lagos-Murtala Muhammed International Airport (LOS) (Nigeria)
Phase: Take-off (TOF)
Departure airport: Lagos-Murtala Muhammed International Airport (LOS/DNMM), Nigeria
Destination airport: Akure Airport (AKR/DNAK), Nigeria Flight number: 361
An Embraer 120RT Brasilia turboprop was destroyed in a takeoff accident at Lagos-Murtala Muhammed International Airport (LOS), Nigeria.
The airplane impacted the ground near an airport fuel depot and broke up. A fire erupted.
There were 20 people on board the plane. AIB Nigeria reported that four occupants survived the accident.
Associated Aviation flight SCD-361 operated on a flight from Lagos to Akure, Nigeria.
The airplane was carrying the body of a former Governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Agagu, for burial in Akure.
Associated Aviation is an airline based in Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria.
It was established in 1996 and operates passenger and cargo services within Nigeria and in West Africa. Its main base is Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.
The Nigerian government set a deadline of April 30, 2007 for all airlines operating in the country to re-capitalise or be grounded, in an effort to ensure better services and safety.
The airline satisfied the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA’s criteria in terms of re-capitalisation and was re-registered for operation.
In July 2008 the company was sold to a group of investors, who have launched a major route expansion and acquisition of new aircraft from Embraer.
After the Dana crash on June 3, 2012, NCAA began recertification of all airlines in the country, hence Associated Airlines was forced to stop its scheduled operations since and has been on charter operations.
Associated Aviation serves the following destinations (January 2009): Abuja, Benin, Calabar, Ibadan, Jeddah, Lagos and Makurdi.
The Associated Aviation fleet consists of the following aircraft (at November 2008): 2 BAe 125-700; 2 Boeing 727-200F; 4 Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia and 1 Lear 45 XR.