Sunday, 7th August 2022
Breaking News:

AIB begins probe of police helicopter crash in Bauchi

By Wole Oyebade (Lagos), Joke Falaju (Abuja) and Murtala Adewale (Kano)
28 January 2022   |   2:44 am
The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) Nigeria, yesterday, launched a probe into a Bell 429 helicopter crash that occurred at Bauchi Airport.
Nigeria police

[FILES] Nigeria police helicopter

Police denies incident, injuries
• Weather disrupts flight operations in Kano
• FG promises to conclude airports concession before 2023

The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) Nigeria, yesterday, launched a probe into a Bell 429 helicopter crash that occurred at Bauchi Airport.

The helicopter, owned and operated by Nigeria Police Force (NPF), crashed Wednesday night with its six occupants severely injured.

But in a reaction, Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, denied the claim, saying the aircraft was involved in a controlled safe landing at the Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa International Airport, Bauchi.

“The aircraft did not crash as being reported in some sections of the media and none of the occupants sustained any injury whatsoever. All six onboard, including the pilot and co-pilot, are in good condition.

“Similarly, the aircraft, which was flown by one of the best police pilots, was professionally safe-landed with minor damage on the rear rotor as a result of obstacle at the landing spot,” Mba stated.

Spokesperson of the AIB, Tunji Oketumbi, said efforts had begun to unravel the cause of the crash. He urged members of the public that have relevant information on the incident to avail same to AIB.

In a statement, AIB noted that the Bell 429 helicopter with registration marks 5N-MDA departed Abuja at 16:54 for Bauchi with six persons on board, maintaining 5,500ft before the accident occurred around 19:30 local time at Bauchi Airport.

Oketumbi said the Bureau was notified of the accident by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and that investigation were ongoing.

He said the AIB would appreciate any video clips, evidence, or information on the accident that could assist the investigation.

This came as hazy weather, yesterday, disrupted flight schedules at Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport in Kano.

Besides the early airlift of passengers on Azman Air, Max Air and a few chartered flights, other airlines were unable to depart. Also, airlines scheduled to arrive in Kano were diverted.

MEANWHILE, plans by the Federal Government to concession the four major international airports in the country may have reached an advanced stage as it declared, yesterday, that the move would be completed before the expiration of the current administration.

The Ministry of Aviation has already prequalified some interested investors and might soon take their financial bids.

Director Human Resources, Federal Ministry of Aviation, Shehu Dogo, made this known in Abuja at a stakeholder’ sensitisation conference.

He said the concession process has reached an advanced stage and will happen in the lifetime of the President Muhammadu Buhari government, as promised by Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika.