Report indicts pilots in Plateau’s 2012 police helicopter crash
• Bureau regrets delay of 22 other findings
Pilots of the ill-fated Nigeria Police Force (NPF) helicopter that crashed in 2012 have been indicted of gross violation of civil aviation rules.
The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), in one of the three final reports released yesterday in Lagos, noted that whereas the main pilot had expired licence, his assistance was not type-rated on the Bell 427 helicopter at the time.
It, however, apologised for the backlog of final reports in 22 past crashes, with some as old as nine years.
The Abuja-bound helicopter, with registration number 5N-POL, shortly after taking off from Jos burst into flames mid-air and crashed into a residential area at Kabong, Jos South Local Council of Plateau State on March 14, 2012. All four occupants, including a Deputy Inspector General of Police, John Haruna, were killed.
Chief Executive Officer of the AIB, Akin Olateru, said while the cause of the accident could not be conclusively decided, investigation, however, revealed a number of discrepancies and non-compliance with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations.
His words: “The pilot’s medical had expired as at the time of accident and the simulator recurrence had elapsed. The co-pilot was not type-rated on the helicopter (Bell 427). The engineer that released the aircraft prior to the flight had no type training and type rating on the aircraft model. Therefore, all of them had no business on the aircraft.”
The bureau has, however, issued three safety recommendations. The NPF Air-Wing was advised to provide proper funding, conducive working environment as well as develop and implement a robust training programme for its technical/operational personnel with adequate supervision and standard equipment to enhance safety.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) was also enjoined to ensure that NPF Air-Wing complies with its AMO requirements.
The AIB chief continued: “NCAA and the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) should launch an independent inquiry into aviation fuel quality in Nigeria. The resulting report should focus on the vulnerability and risk of every step in the distribution process.
“This should yield firmer regulatory oversight mechanism that ensures international quality of aviation fuels used in Nigeria.”
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