Cause of Osinbajo’s helicopter crash revealed

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The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has released probe reports of four air accidents, including the helicopter crash involving Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

The scrutiny revealed that the Caverton Helicopter captain in the February 2, 2019 crash-landing at Kabba, Kogi State, used inappropriate landing techniques, and did not adhere to company procedures.

In the same vein, the AIB Commissioner, Akin Olateru, has warned that any airline found tampering with recordings of Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) in the event of mishaps would be dealt with according to extant laws.

The other reports unveiled yesterday are the incidents regarding the Bombardier DHC-8-Q400 aircraft, owned and operated by Aero Contractors Company of Nigeria Limited with nationality and registration marks, 5N-BPU, which occurred in Lagos on April 18, 2017; Diamond DA-42 plane with nationality and registration marks, 5N-BNH, owned and operated by the International Aviation College, that happened on Runway 23 of Ilorin International Airport on May 1, 2019; and the Diamond DA-40 aircraft, with registration marks, 5N-BRM, owned and operated by International Aviation College that also took place on Runway 23 of same Ilorin gateway on March 27, 2014.

Olateru, at public disclosure of accident reports in Abuja, noted that the Kogi incident was an AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter, operated by Caverton Helicopters and chartered to convey the Vice President and eight other very important personalities (VIPs).

The crew, according to the report, stated that they could not sight the intended landing area as a result of the cloud of residual dust generated by the downwash of a police helicopter.

The AIB boss said: “After sighting the football field, the flight crew approached with the speed of 20kt to about a 100 ft, and entered a hover to land. At about 50ft above ground level, a brownout set in.”

“The flight crew lost visual contact with the ground and external surroundings. The co-pilot began radio altitude callouts “35, 30, 25, 20 and 15”. At about 14:34hr, the helicopter experienced a hard landing on the right main landing gear and rolled over onto its right side. All persons on board were evacuated unhurt.”

He listed factors that contributed to the crash as “inappropriate landing technique used, non-adherence to company procedures for known or anticipated brownout condition during landing and lack of risk assessment, limited landing site preparation, and planning prior to commencement of the flight by the crew.”

As part of safety recommendations, the AIB asked the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to “conduct a Safety Management System (SMS) audit of Caverton Helicopters, and ensure that the airline has implemented the immediate safety recommendation 2019-003, the NCAA all operators Letter (FSG 002), and the recommendations documented in the Caverton Helicopters internal SMS investigation of this accident.”

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