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Crashed helicopter was airworthy, AIB report says

The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) said findings on last Friday’s Quorum Helicopter crash which killed three crew members would be made known “in due course.”…

The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) said findings on last Friday’s Quorum Helicopter crash which killed three crew members would be made known “in due course.”

The helicopter crashed in between two buildings at Opebi Area of Lagos.

The accident involved a Bell Helicopter 206-B III, Serial Number 3216, Engine Model Allison 250–C20B with the Nationality registration Marks 5N-BQW.

AIB, the government agency responsible for investigating accidents and serious incidents in Nigerian airspace said it was notified of the crash at about 12:19 pm.

AIB Commissioner/CEO, Engr. Akin Olateru who briefed newsmen at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja said findings on the causes of the crash would be released in due course.

While advising against speculation on the causes of the incident, he clarified that the aircraft has valid Certificate of Airworthiness (C of A) till October 29, 2020 and the operator, Quorum Aviation, has a valid Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) that will expire November 20, 2020.

He explained that at 09:20 am, the helicopter departed from Port Harcourt Military Airport (DNPM) for EAN Hanger in Lagos.

According to him, at 11:45 a.m, the aircraft established contact with Lagos Tower, reporting maintaining 1000 ft and estimating the station at 12:18 p.m.

He said: “In the ensuing communication, the pilot was advised of station weather.

At 12:10 h, the pilot reported sighting the airfield and was instructed by ATC, to report downwind for runway 18L.

“At 12:16h, the ATC tried unsuccessfully to establish contact with the aircraft.

“At 12:36h, ATC was informed of the crash of the helicopter by MMF02, a MMIA fire station.

“At the crash site, two bodies were recovered. A third occupant was evacuated but died later in the hospital.”

‘Helicopter has no flight recorder’

The Commissioner further clarified that the Helicopter does not have a flight data recorder (FDR) popularly called black box, saying according to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) regulations, only chopper with 10 seats are fitted with FDR while the ill-fated aircraft had five seats.

He said, “We would like to clarify that AIB did not retrieve an FDR from the aircraft as the Bell 206 is certified at approximately 1,519kg (3,350lbs) and featured five seats. It does not meet the necessary criteria for an FDR and was not featured with one.

“The standard requirement for an FDR in any aircraft is ten seats.

“It is extremely important to note that the Aviation Industry is the most regulated industry globally and its operations are regulated in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

“The installation and application of FDRs in aircraft is guided by ICAO Annex 6, Parts 1 and 2. The basic standards for both Parts are essentially similar. Part 1 applies to commercial aircraft while Part 2 is for non-commercial operations.

“An FDR on the aircraft would have aided the investigation but, nevertheless, our world class trained investigators are competent to retrieve information about a crash from the wreckage and several other components of the aircraft, the site of the crash, communication with the ATC, and other documents on the aircraft and the crew.”

He lauded the state emergency management agency (LASEMA), the Nigerian Police Force, Fire Service and other law enforcement agencies for the role they played in securing the recent crash site and controlling the crowd at the scene.

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