A team of accident investigators from Nigeria’s Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has left Lagos for São Tomé to commence investigation into the crash of a An – 74 aircraft, which occurred last week on the West African island.
The invitation to Nigeria’s AIB came from São Tomé and Principe through the Banjul Accord Group Accident Investigation Agency (BAGAIA), an arm of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
All costs and expense associated with the said investigation would be borne 100% by the government of São Tomé and Principe, according to Tunji Oketunbi, Head, Public Affairs of AIB.
It was learnt that the An-74 was performing its takeoff run in favourable weather on runway 29 at Sao Tome when at some point one or multiple birds collided with the aircraft.
Report says the Russian aircraft, whilst doing an aborted take-off reportedly ran beyond the end of the runway where it fell down an embankment and was damaged beyond repair.
Although the aircraft was badly damaged, all the six crew members survived with injuries.
The invitation to AIB team is said to be the “first of its kind” in the organization’s history, according to Oketunbi.
Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of AIB, Akin Olateru said AIB was pleased to be called upon to assist a sister African country adding that the agency was just living up to its billing as a pacesetter in the sub-region.
"We are very pleased to be invited by BAGAIA to carry out this investigation, which is in recognition of, and an explicit expression of confidence in our capabilities and professionalism. Without gainsaying, this opportunity to serve will further build AIB’s capacity as it provides a platform for practical learning, develops and enhances the skills set and knowledge base of our accident investigators, thereby increasing competency and promoting professionalism across board.
We are very mindful of BAGAIA’s expectation of us, and that from individual African countries alike; we cannot afford to let them down."