Olusegun Koiki :
Less than 24 hours after the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) released its preliminary report on the helicopter crash involving Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Kabba Kogi State, Caverton Helicopter has promised to adhere strictly to safety procedures as required by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Act.
A statement by its Managing Director, Capt. Josiah Choms said that the helicopter company would also adhere to other relevant local and international regulations across all its operations.
The statement hinted that the airline would continue to take safety and security of its clients with high esteem.
He said: “The management of Caverton Helicopters wants to thank the public and our esteemed clients for your prayers and overwhelming support.
“We wish to assure the public of our unflinching commitment to the provision of safe and reliable air transport services.”
Recall that AIB had on Wednesday attributed “brownout” to the cause of the aircraft crash involving Osinbajo and 11 others at Kabba,, Kogi State.
In a bid to forestall recurrence of such accident in the future, AIB issued two “immediate safety recommendations” to Caverton Helicopter, the operator of the crashed helicopter and the industry regulator, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
The Commissioner of AIB, Engr. Akin Olateru in a briefing with journalists said that NCAA should issue an Advisory Circular to all helicopter operators flying in Nigeria to be alert to the possibility and effect of brownstone, while appropriate procedures should be put in place to mitigate its effects.
Olateru in its safety recommendation to Caverton Helicopter, Safety Recommendation 2019-003 stated that the operator should ensure that flight operations are carried out in accordance with the company’s approved operations manual vis-à-vis, the survey and proper safety risk analysis are done before dispatching any flight to unapproved landing posts.
AIB also released the preliminary accident report with 17 initial findings among which was the occurrence of a brownout while landing.
Olateru explained that brownout in helicopter operations is an in-flight visibility restriction caused by dust or sand in which the flight crew loses visual contact with nearby objects that provide the outside visual references necessary to control the helicopter near the ground.
The preliminary report emphasised that the helicopter company did not conduct site survey of the landing field prior to flight, adding that the company did not also carry out a safety and risk assessment of the landing area prior to the dispatch of the flight.
The initial findings also indicated that the bureau could not conduct drug and alcohol tests on the pilots and according to the weather report obtained from the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET), the prevailing conditions were good, but that the aircraft hovered to land in a brown out condition.
Olateru, however, said the conclusive report would make a lot of other areas clearer especially after analysis of data from the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) information and the Flight data Recorder (FDR) as well as analysis of data from the Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS) and Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) coupled with interviews from witnesses and further inspection of the crash site.