The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has submitted an interim report on the Nigeria Airforce (NAF) King Air -350 aircraft, which occurred at the Kaduna Airport on May 21, 2021.
The Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of AIB, Engr Akin Olateru submitted the interim report on the incident to the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Amao, at his office at NAF Headquarters, Abuja.
This was contained in a joint statement by the AIB spokesman, Mr. Tunji Oketunbi, and his NAF counterpart, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet.
Following the incident which killed 11 people including the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru onboard, the NAF had invited the AIB to assist in the investigation despite that the incident did not fall under the agency’s purview.
AIB is usually involved in the investigation of accidents and incidents involving civil aircraft.
Though the report contained initial findings and immediate recommendations, they were not made public.
This has been the tradition over the years as causal factors on military plane crashes are not always made public as they are considered “sensitive security information.”
“A total of 27 initial findings and 8 immediate safety recommendations were made for the convening authority as well as other aviation related agencies for immediate implementation,” the statement said.
The statement also revealed that the final report will contain the flight data recorder readout, the reviewed operator’s and service provider’s standard operating procedures as well as other detailed analysis.
It read: “The submitted report is organized into three sections namely; the information obtained in the course of the investigation; analysis of data collected in view of the Board’s Terms of Reference; and the conclusion, which covers the initial findings and immediate recommendations.”
The statement quoted the Chief of Army Staff as reiterating the main essence of activating the ‘joint investigative’ clause contained in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the NAF and the AIB on 1 July, 2020.
According to him, the successful collaboration is a clear indication of the potency of collaboration in aircraft accident investigation, which must be encouraged.
Air Marshal Amao also noted that such collaborative efforts make accident investigations more transparent and open while also stating that the outcome of the investigation is not necessarily aimed at punitive measures but essentially at generally improving safety in the aviation industry.
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of AIB stated that the joint investigation with the NAF was its first direct involvement in military air crash investigation in Nigeria and second investigation outside its mandate having also assisted Sao Tome and Principe in the past.
He also stated that copies of the report, with the endorsement of the CAS, will also be submitted to the Minister of Aviation and Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to ensure that the recommendations addressed to aviation agencies are implemented.
The Commissioner also stated that although the accident involved a military aircraft and crew, it happened at a civil airport adding that the involvement of AIB in the investigation by the Nigerian Air Force would help in closing the gaps on the civil aviation side.