Three days after an Agusta AW 139 helicopter flying Vice President Yemi Osibanjo crashed in Kabba, Kogi State, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has concluded investigations on the accident.
According to a report by TheNation, the investigation came on the heels of gathering of series of evidences which included: inspection of the chopper wreckage at the crash site; interview of airline crew such as pilots, engineers and other technical personnel; analysing eyewitness accounts, as well as laboratory testing of the broken rotor and other parts of chopper.
The paper quoted a source at the AIB saying the preliminary report of the accident will be released soon, but no probable cause(s) has been given as the reason for the crash. Another source close to Caverton Helicopters, managers of the crashed chopper, said its insurers have arrived the country to participate in the probe. The source hinted that the insurers sought permission from the AIB for access to the crash site to carry out valuation of the wreckage and other relevant activity critical to the accident probe.
Besides the insurers, it was not clear as at Monday if the helicopter manufacturer, Agusta, would participate in the inquiry. According to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)-prescribed aviation regulations, the aircraft manufacturers ought to participate in the investigation. The involvement will enable the manufacturer to learn useful lessons in preventing a reoccurrence; if there are issues with the equipment design or other technical hitches.
Tunji Oketumbi, the spokesman of the AIB, said the bureau had concluded preliminary investigation on the crash, which he described as “high profile”, because of the status of the occupant in the ill-fated chopper. He said an accident could be so described if the aircraft was carrying many influential people, or there are many multi-nationals.
Oketumbi said: “so far, the AIB has done what is statutorily required of it. We did not require any foreign assistance. We have carried out the relevant findings at the crash site and interviewed the crew and other people relevant to the operation. So, far, the helicopter wreckage has not been removed.”
He, however, took exception to the remarks attributed to Caverton Helicopters which suggested the probable cause(s) of the crash. According to him, besides giving flight information – type of aircraft; registration number; number of occupant in the aircraft and circumstances of the accident, the airline should refrain from speculating the cause of the crash. Doing such, Oketumbi said, would amount to pre-empting the investigation.