Osibanjo's helicopter crash caused by poor landing technique - AIB

A helicopter crash
Emeh Joy

The Accident Investigation Bureau on Tuesday stated that the pilots who conveyed the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibanjo on February 2019 deployed an inappropriate landing technique which had led to the crash.

The AIB also said that the crew had failed to adhere to the company procedures. However, it also noted that its findings were not intended to blame the defaulters; instead, it was to help improve safety in the aviation sector.

The Chief Executive Officer of the bureau, Akin Olateru, revealed this in Abuja when AIB released its four accident reports.

The agency further warned airlines to stop altering the recordings contained in Cockpit Voice Recorder in the event of a crash or serious incident, and any carrier found guilty of such act would be dealt with in accordance to the law.

The AIB boss said Caverton Helicopters Limited operated the Agusta Westland, AW139 with the registration number, 5N-CML, which conveyed the Vice President.

The helicopter he said left Lagos for the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja to conduct a VIP charter from Abuja to Okene via Kabba and then return to Abuja before the crash occurred later in the afternoon.

The aircraft had 12 people on board and that included the vice president, his entourage and three crew members.

Olateru said the flight crew disclosed that they sighted the intended landing area as a result of the cloud of residual dust generated by the downwash of a police helicopter. At about 50 feet above ground level, a brownout set in as the aircraft tried to land.

He explained that the brownout condition led to a loss of external visual references, spatial disorientation, as well as the loss of situational awareness.

This, he said, led to the misjudgement of distance and ground clearance as the flight crew tried to control the helicopter's movements for landing.

On the factors that contributed to the crash, he said, "Inappropriate landing technique used, non-adherence to company procedures for known or anticipated brownout condition during landing and lack of assessment".

The bureau further outlined some safety recommendations to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and the Management of the Caverton Helicopters.

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