Fuel shortage, pilot error caused Opebi-Ikeja fatal helicopter crash – AIB report

A fatal air crash involving Quorum Aviation Limited’s helicopter that fell in the densely populated Opebi area of Ikeja in Lagos, on August 28, 2020, was caused by a pilot error, fuel shortage, among other factors, a final accident report released by the Accident Investigation Report has revealed.

The report detailed how the ill-fated chopper came down just about three minutes to landing at the Lagos airport, leading to the death of the pilot and two other crew members on board.

The AIB on Thursday released the Quorum Aviation crash report alongside four other accident and serious incident reports, as well as one safety bulletin to the public.

The other reports include that of the accident involving Skypower Express Airways’ Air Tractor AT-401B aircraft with registration 5N-BTV which occurred at Rukubi village in Abuja on October 4, 2018; and the serious incident involving Nigeria Police Airwing Bell 429 helicopter with registration 5N-MDA which occurred at Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja on  August 3rd, 2019.

It also include the serious incidents involving Skypower Express Airways Nigeria Limited Cessna 172 aircraft with registration 5N-APE at Bini village, Niger State on November 19, 2019; and a bulletin report on the ground collision involving a Central Bank of Nigeria truck with registration AKD765FK and a Nigeria Air Force Bell 412 helicopter with registration NAF 600 which occurred at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on June 15, 2020.

The Quorum helicopter accident which led to the death of all the souls on board had caught the attention of the Nigerian public.

The ill-fated had crashed into two buildings in the highbrow Opebi area of Lagos.

 The Commissioner, AIB, Akin Olateru, while reading the accident reports in Abuja, said the Quorum Aviation chopper crash was caused by fuel exhaustion at low altitude and low speed leading to loss of control in flight.

He added, “The decision to continue the flight towards the intended destination with insufficient fuel instead of landing as soon as practicable in line with section 12.12 of Quorum Aviation Limited Operations Manual Part A”

“There was lack of effective management supervision of the airline’s flight operations and inadequate safety oversight of Quorum Aviation Limited.”

As a result, the AIB recommended, among other things, that the NCAA-the industry regulator-should ensure that carrier takes necessary steps to ensure safe operations are achieved.

 It also released safety guidelines to aviation agencies to help curtail aircraft accidents and incidents in the aviation sector.

Olateru said the newly released documents had increased the total number of accident reports released by the bureau since its establishment in 2007 to 72.

He explained that the reports contain 12 safety recommendations for regulatory bodies and the affected aviation firms.

According to the AIB chief executive officer, the CBN needs to ensure that all its personnel assigned to drive vehicles or access any of the Nigerian airports are adequately and properly profiled and provided with airside driving and compliance training.

He further stated that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria should ensure that all the CBN personnel assigned to drive vehicles at all Nigerian airports were provided with airside driving and compliance training.

Olateru said, “FAAN should ensure that agencies and organisations operating at the airside adhere strictly to all provisions of Airside Vehicle Control Manual.

“The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority should intensify its oversight on FAAN as regards the operation of vehicles on the airside.”

Article first published on the Punch Website

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