NAMA simulates aircraft accident search, rescue in Lagos
In readiness for the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) audit early next year, the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has partnered with stakeholders in aviation’s emergency rescue operations to conduct a live aeronautic simulation of an air crash.
The simulation, which occurred at the Mafoluku area of Oshodi in Lagos, a few metres from Runway 18 Left and the local airport, Ikeja, was an opportunity to identify gaps in the system and chart paths to fill them.
Code named “SAREXNAMA 2021,” the search and rescue exercise focused on a disaster that could result from an air crash and create a mass casualty incident, which requires a coordinated response from critical stakeholders saddled with the responsibility of managing aviation emergencies.
The mock exercise involved an aircraft with registration No. ZYMMM, travelling from Abuja to Accra. The aircraft diverted to Lagos due to an electrical problem, and on board were 38 souls including four-crew. 15 survivors were rescued while 23 others were unaccounted for.
Addressing participants at the end of the exercise, the convener and Managing Director of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu, expressed delight at the turnout by concerned agencies and stakeholders.
Akinkuotu, however, noted that several gaps were observed during the exercise, especially in the areas of coordination and response to alert, even as he assured that the agency would work assiduously with relevant stakeholders to close the gaps.
Participants included the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Nigeria Air Force, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigeria Police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Federal Fire Service, Lagos State Fire Service, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), the Nigerian Red Cross, as well as Caverton Helicopters.
As specified by the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) of ICAO Annex 12, Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation Pt. 14 of 2005, NAMA Search and Rescue Manual and the National Disaster Response Plan by NEMA, in accordance with Act 12 of 1999 constitution, the mock search and rescue operation is being coordinated by NAMA yearly to test the procedures and communication between NAMA and other agencies, ascertain the prompt response of NAMA facilities and personnel to an incident, ascertain the preparedness of other agencies involved in the exercise and their response to alert as well as verify the operability of the joint rescue coordination centre.
The exercise also sought to evaluate effectiveness of all functional elements of NAMA Search and Rescue systems and their collaboration with other organisations within and outside the airport in the event of an emergency.