By Lawani Mikairu
The Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, Monday released the final report of the Bristow Helicopters Sikorsky S-76C+ helicopters with registration number 5N-BGD crash which occurred on August 12, 2015 at the Oworonshoki area of Lagos, and three other serious air incident reports, which occurred in the country between July 2004 and August 2015.
Engr. Akin Olateru , the Commissioner of AIB while releasing the four reports during a press briefing with aviation journalists at the Corporate Headquarters of AIB in Lagos observed that the purpose of the reports was not to apportion blames, but to avert future occurrence of same incident or accident.
The three other reports also released include the accident report on Pan African Airlines Nigeria Ltd Bell 412 EP Helicopter with the registration number 5N-BDZ, which crashed near SEDCO Energy Platform on July 26, 2004 a few minutes after takeoff.
Also released were reports on two serious incidents involving an Emirates Boeing 777-200 aircraft with the registration number A6-EWD and Aero Contractors Nigeria Ltd B737-42C aircraft with the registration number 5N-BOB, which equally occurred in July 2015.
The Bristow Helicopters Sikorsky S-76C+ helicopters which crashed into Oworonshoki lagoon, Lagos had 12 persons onboard, including two crew members shortly before landing at Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja. There were six fatalities including the two pilots, while other six persons onboard sustained serious injuries.
The helicopter had departed SEDCO Express oil rig at about 14:55hrs with an endurance of one hour and thirty minutes maintaining an attitude of 3,000ft with the estimated arrival at Lagos Airport at 15:36hrs, according to the crew information before departure from the rig.
Olateru explained that “the helicopter experienced sudden un-commanded pitch up, yaw, and roll for about 12 seconds until it impacted water at about 15:31hrs, stressing that “the pilots were neither able to make any form of distress call to Air Traffic Controllers (ATC), SEDCO Express rig or communicate with the passengers before impact”.
He added: “Rescue operation was swift, prompt and carried out by local fishermen who were in the area. There were six fatalities, including two crew members and six seriously injured passengers. The crew members were recovered the following day. The helicopter was destroyed, but there was no post-impact fire.”
In its sole safety recommendation, AIB advised “the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation to redesign the affected control pushrod assembly by introducing wire lock or lock pins as safety features between the jam nut and the pushrod to enhance better security and safety”.
On the accident involving Pan African Airlines Bell 412 EP Helicopter with the registration 5N-BDZ, which occurred near SEDCO Energy Rig Platform on July 26, 2004, AIB recommended and advised NCAA to ensure that heliport operators provide full weather report for helicopter operations.
The report on the serious incident involving an Emirates Boeing 777-200 aircraft with the registration A6-EWD, said the aircraft had an impact with another B737-400 aircraft belonging to HAK Air with the registration 5N-BOU at Lagos Airport on July 6, 2015.
According to the report, the Emirates aircraft with 285 passengers had requested “to take off through the 18R runway, and the ATC replied that was unavailable at the time, but the pilot opted to use the 18Left runway for take-off”.
The report added: “The crew asked for when the runway would be available. The tower reported that the time was not determined, but 18L was available. After determining the aircraft take-off performance, the crew accepted to use runway 18L. The Tower advised UAE782 that taxiing via taxiway C for runway 18L would be at pilot’s discretion due to aircraft wing span.
“However, the crew commenced the taxi and impacted a HAK Air Boeing 737-400 aircraft parked at the parking bay of the General Aviation Terminal (GAT), close to holding point runway 18L, at about 21:38hrs, damaging the rudder and the tail area of the HAK Air aircraft, while the Emirates aircraft sustained damage to its right wing tip.”
AIB further released a report on another serious incident involving Aero Contractors aircraft B737-42C with the registration 5N-BOB, which occurred on the same 18L runway of Lagos Airport on July 21, 2015.
It however made two safety recommendations to FAAN and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) on the serious incident.
With this four reports, the Commissioner of AIB said that the current administration has achieved 52.1 per cent on publication of accident and serious incident reports and 47.4 per cent of safety recommendations since coming onboard in January, 2017.