By Lawani Mikairu
As Nigeria Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, on Wednesday dispatched two of its investigators to Port Harcourt International Airport to commence investigation into the Dana Air plane incident at the airport, Aviation stakeholders have started interrogating the culpability of the various aviation agencies who have the responsibility to ensure safe flight operations at the airport.
A very senior official of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, whose name cannot be in print for obvious reasons, has raised some posers he said he expects the AIB, to answer.
According to the NCAA director, “As a major incident, the Accident Investigation Bureau has to carry out an investigation to ascertain the cause(s) of the incident. At the moment, all the aviation agencies are suspects viz; has NCAA been carrying out due diligence on aircraft and crew, is FAAN up to date in the provision of the required infrastructure for safe operations in Port Harcourt Airport”?
While thanking God that all passengers and crew aboard the flight were evacuated and are safe, he further asked: “Has Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, provided the necessary Instrument Landing Systems for safe operations during inclement weather? Was the weather report at the moment of incident as given by Nigeria Meteorological Agency, NIMET, up to date and correct?”
According to him, “these and other issues” including the culpability or otherwise of the airline must be determined before any blame can be apportioned and appropriate measures recommended to avoid future occurrence.
Confirming the commencement of the investigation, Mr. Tunji Oketunbi, General Manager, Public Affairs, AIB, said two of the bureau’s accident investigators have been sent to Port Harcourt Airport , the scene of the incident, to make sure no evidence is tampered with. They are to also commence immediate investigation as to why the Dana aircraft overshot the runway.
Oketunbi further said until the investigation is done, preliminary report as to the cause of the incident cannot be released by AIB, as is the aviation practice worldwide and in keeping with the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO, recommended procedure.
Recall, on Tuesday night, a Dana Air aircraft with registration numbere 9J0363, flying from Abuja to Port Harcourt Airport overshot the Port Harcourt Airport runway.
According to Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, the incident “was suspected to have been caused by a heavy rain, which was accompanied by strong wind and storm in Port Harcourt.”
She however added that no casualty was recorded, as all passengers on board were safely evacuated.