According to AIB report on the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo recent Helicopter accident, that occurred at Kabba, Kogi State. The Commissioner said the Operator Failed To Carry Out Safety, Risk Assessment Of Landing Area Prior To Dispatch Of Flight Says Caverton did Conduct Site Survey Of Landing Field Prior To Flight.
The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has stated that it initial findings into the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo Helicopter Agusta AW139 Helicopter with registration number 5N- -CML and serial number: 31389, which crashed in Kabba, Kogi State, encounter a heavy brownout at Kabba Football Stadium, which made the crew to lost visual contact with the ground and resulted to a crash.
A brownout is a condition generated during landing in a dry environment. Recalled, that the accident happened on February 2, 2019. The report said made the helicopter to touch land hard on the right main landing gear.
The Commissioner of the AIB, Engr. Akin Olateru, said this while releasing the preliminary report on the chopper with 12 passengers including the Vice President today at the agency’s headquarters at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos
According to him, “During landing, at about 50 ft to touchdown, a heavy brownout enveloped the helicopter and the crew lost visual contact with the ground. The Co-Pilot called out radio altimeter 35, 30, 25, 20, 15 and no more. At about 14:34 h, the helicopter touched down hard on the right main landing gear and rolled over to the right.”
Continuing, he said, “The crew carried out Emergency Landing Procedures which included immediate engines shut down, fuel shut OFF, battery switch OFF, and generators switch OFF. All occupants of the helicopter were evacuated uninjured. The helicopter was substantially damaged.”
Olateru also stated that though the helicopter had a valid certificate of airworthiness, those initial findings indicated that Caverton Helicopters Limited did not conduct a site survey of the landing field prior to this flight. Caverton, the report also revealed did not carry out safety and risk assessment of the landing area prior to dispatch of the flight and that drug and alcohol test for the crew could not be carried out.
On the damage to the helicopter, the report said, “The five main rotor blades separated from the rotor head and were destroyed, and debris was distributed within the football stadium. The right main landing gear was damaged, the right horizontal stabilizer was damaged, and the tail rotor blades suffered multiple damages, but the assembly remained intact. The life raft deployed while the left and the right floating devices did not deploy.”
The preliminary report, to forestall future occurrence made two immediate safety recommendations, which include, that NCAA should issue an Advisory Circular to all helicopter operators flying in Nigeria to be alert of the possibility and the effect of brownout. Appropriate procedures should be put in place to mitigate its effect(s).
Secondly, that the owner of the helicopter; Caverton Helicopters Limited should ensure that flight operations are carried out in accordance with the company’s approved operations manual, vis-a-vis site survey and proper safety risk analysis are done before dispatching any helicopter to unapproved landing pads.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner hinted that there are four outstanding investigations. They are; (A) Analysis of the data from Cockpit Voice Recorder information and Flight Data Recorder (FDR), (B)Analysis of the data from Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS), Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) and other non-volatile memory devices, (C) Further interviews of witnesses and (D) Further inspection of the wreckage.
On whether the operator of the accident helicopter; Caverton Helicopter Limited has the right to pre-empt AIB ‘s investigation, Olateru said,” It is not proper for an operator to pre-empt the investigation of AIB. The operator should have stated what happened and stop at there.”