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Quorum helicopter crash: AIB insists on its report, urges public to ignore heresy

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Following the controversy occassioning the report of Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), the agency said, it stood by its report.

AIB said, it has the mandate to investigate cause of air crash which it did in the interest of aviation safety, while describing the ongoing heresy in the public domain by non-professionals as unfortunate.

In a statement made available to CAPITAL POST in Abuja on Tuesday by the management of AIB, said, the release of the preliminary report was as a result of unsubstantiated claims by operator of Quorum Aviation Limited.

The statement said: “The attention of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Nigeria, has been drawn to some insinuations in the public domain, following the release of the Preliminary Report on the accident involving a Bell 206B helicopter, which occurred in Ikeja, Lagos on 28 August, 2020.

“This activity has apparently been initiated because of unsubstantiated claims made
by the Operator – Quorum Aviation Limited.

“It is important to state that the objective of our investigations is to improve Aviation safety by determining the cause(s) and contributory factor(s) of an occurrence and to issue targeted safety recommendations to forestall future reoccurrence of such accidents or incidents.
In accordance with the Civil Aviation Act 2006 and Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, AIB investigation shall not apportion blame or assist in determining liability.

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“It is also important to note that AIB does not authenticate documents with the affected Operator but with the Regulatory body – the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which is the custodian of all the certificates.

“The Bureau has stated, in the preliminary report, that the pilot’s proficiency was valid
till 24 August 2020, four days before the crash, while the medical certificate of the pilot expired on 06 August 2020.

“The letter, purportedly written to the NCAA by the Operator and released to the public, does not bear any of the normal markers of a letter which has passed through
the official process of the Regulatory body.

“It has no official stamps nor proof of receipt by the NCAA.

“Furthermore, the Operator has not shown the response of the NCAA to this purported application, nor have they tendered evidence of the approval of their request for extension/exemption.

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“However, the NCAA in her response to AIB’s enquiry on the subject states that, “The Authority does not have in its record any evidence that the deceased or his employer applied for the exemption provided for by the AOL (DG18/20) and AOL (DG20/20) before the accident occurred on the 28th of August, 2020”.

“As a professional and responsible organization, AIB would not normally respond to these distractions, but the need to protect the integrity of our investigation has made it imperative in this case.

“The onus is on the Operator to prove that its purported letter was appropriately received by the NCAA, and that the relevant approval was obtained.

“Aircraft accident investigation is a serious matter and AIB, as the Federal Government agency charged with this responsibility, is a very thorough and professional body.

“The Bureau, as a matter of principle, does not join issues with the Airlines it investigates. It is the Bureau’s duty to focus on how to improve Aviation safety through well conducted, timely and quality investigations.

“AIB conducts a thorough and transparent investigation process, which entails working closely with several stakeholders including the manufacturer of the aircraft,
Engine manufacturer, the State of design, the Civil Aviation Regulatory bodies.

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“Air Navigation Service Providers, the Aerodrome operators, the affected aircraft operator and other law enforcement agencies.

“We are currently focused on unearthing the cause(s) of this crash which is the first Air transport fatality recorded in Nigeria in over 4 years.

“It is imperative to note that Preliminary reports only contain details of the initial facts,
discussions, inspection of the accident site and the wreckage and findings surrounding the occurrences, so far gathered.

“The ill-fated helicopter had departed Port Harcourt Military Airport en-route Lagos but
crashed a few minutes before reaching its destination, leaving the pilot and two other occupants fatally injured.

“Preliminary investigations reveal, among other things, that there was no fuel in the helicopter’s tanks even as the helicopter had no fuel jettisoning capability.

“The investigation is still in process. Members of the public and the media are hereby enjoined to desist from heresy and wait for the final report which will be released soon.”

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