August 30, 2020

LAGOS HELICOPTER CRASH: Without Black Box, AIB moves to unravel cause

LAGOS HELICOPTER CRASH: Without Black Box, AIB moves to unravel cause

…Sanwo-Olu orders integrity test on affected buildings

By Lawani Mikairu and Olasunkanmi Akoni

The Bell 206 Helicopter operated by Quorum Aviation Limited which crashed on Friday in Opebi area of Ikeja, Lagos State was not fitted with Black Box. It was rated for one pilot.

This information came to light just as the three deceased persons aboard the helicopter have been identified to be the crew members. They are Captain Chika Prudence Ernest, engineer on board, Clement Ndiok, and a fitter whose name was not disclosed.

Meanwhile, Nigerian Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, spokesman, Mr Tunji Oketunbi, yesterday, said the crashed Bell helicopter was “not fitted with Black Box”.

Experts corroborated the claim, saying not all aircraft are fitted with Black Box.

Akin Olateru, Nigerian Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, Commissioner, said fitting of Black Box on an aircraft depends on weight classification.

“The classification is about weight of the aircraft and the number of seats. In this case the Bell 206 didn’t have any fitted”, Olateru said.

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The general view is that  AIB will have to rely on the helicopter Cockpit Voice Recorder, CVR, and eyewitnesses account to unravel the cause of the helicopter crash.

Like the AIB boss said, the general public has to wait until the initial report is released.

Meanwhile, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has ordered immediate conduct of integrity test on the two buildings at No 16B and 14, Salvation Road, Opebi, Ikeja, Lagos affected by the crash.

Sanwo-Olu, who arrived the area at about 2pm, said, “I was at the site of the helicopter crash at Opebi for an on-the-spot assessment.

“We sincerely sympathize with the families of the victims. I met with the residents of the buildings and we all thanked God for His abiding grace.

“I have ordered an immediate conduct of integrity test conduct on both of the affected buildings to know the level of impact.

“We are taking on the responsibility of renovations and will provide all the necessary support to cushion the effects of this tragic incident.”

Sanwo-Olu, in a condolence message earlier, signed on his behalf by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, promised that government would work with federal agencies to unravel the remote and immediate causes of the accident so as to prevent  re-occurrence.