Proficiency of Lagos crashed helicopter expired four days before accident -AIB

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The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has explained that the pilot’s proficiency of the Quorum Aviation Limited crashed helicopter was valid till 24 August 2020, four days before the crash, while the medical certificate of the pilot expired on 06 August 2020.

The General Manager Public Affairs, Tunji Oketumbi, in a press statement issued Tuesday described the rebuttal issued by Quorum Aviation Limited following the preliminary report of its recently crashed Bell 206B helicopter in Lagos as unsubstantiated.

He further explained that the operator of the crashed helicopter stated on Monday, September 21, 2020, that a letter was written and sent to Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) following a correspondence referenced NCAA/DOT/GEN012/20/002.

The bureau, according to its statement said “The letter, purportedly written to the NCAA by the Operator and released to the public, does not bear any of the normal markers of a letter which has passed through the official process of the Regulatory body.

He said the operator has not shown the response of the NCAA to this purported application, nor have they tendered evidence of the approval of their request for extension/ exemption.”

AIB further noted that “The onus is on the Operator to prove that its purported letter was appropriately received by the NCAA, and that the relevant approval was obtained”.

“The significance attached to the mandate of the bureau and that aircraft accident investigation is a serious matter and AIB, as the Federal Government agency charged with this responsibility, is a very thorough and professional body.

AIB conducts a thorough and transparent investigation process, which entails working closely with several stakeholders including the manufacturer of the aircraft, Engine manufacturer, the State of design, the Civil Aviation Regulatory bodies, the Air Navigation Service Providers, the Aerodrome operators, the affected aircraft operator and other law enforcement agencies” the statement stated.

According to him, the bureau is now focused on unearthing the cause(s) of the crash which is the first Air transport fatality recorded in Nigeria in over 4 years.Reiterating the fact in the preliminary report, the statement indicated that”.

He said it is imperative to note that Preliminary reports only contain details of the initial facts, discussions, inspection of the accident site and the wreckage and findings surrounding the occurrences, so far gathered.

“The ill-fated helicopter had departed Port Harcourt Military Airport en-route Lagos but crashed a few minutes before reaching its destination, leaving the pilot and two other occupants fatally injured.

“Preliminary investigations reveal, among other things, that there was no fuel in the helicopter’s tanks even as the helicopter had no fuel jettisoning capability”.

It would be recalled that the operator of Quorum Aviation that recently crashed in Lagos had earlier debunked the preliminary report released Monday, September 21, 2020, stating that the pilot to the crashed helicopter did not have a valid proficiency check and no exemption was requested from the regulatory body, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

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