The Accident Investigation Bureau has identified the factors that led to the crash of the helicopter conveying the late Taraba State Governor, Danbaba Suntai, and three other occupants on October 25, 2012.
In the report released on Thursday, the AIB said the pilot was not certified, qualified and competent to fly the Cessna 208B Caravan aircraft with registration number 5N-BMJ, which crashed in Kwanan-Waya Village in Yola.
The Commissioner and Chief Executive officer, AIB, Akin Olateru, while disclosing the findings of its investigations of six accidents and serious incidents in the aviation industry, stated that although the pilot had a private pilot licence, he was not trained to handle the aircraft.
Other contributing factors, according to him, are the decision of the pilot to operate a VFR flight after sunset and inadequate oversight by the regulatory authority.
Giving more details of the accidents, he said the pilot did not have instrument ratings and night flight privileges as it was conducted at sunset and reported an incorrect estimated time of arrival as 10:01 UTC as against the time 17:19 UTC.
“The pilot reported the number of persons on board as six to the control tower as against four actual persons found after the accident. The control tower was notified about 5N-BMJ departure by a phone call from Jalingo after the aircraft was airborne,” he added.
Although no life was lost in the crash, it was reported that the late governor sustained brain injuries, which incapacitated him from performing his official duties and that he underwent rehabilitation until his demise in 2017.
The report advised Nigerian Airspace Management Agency to relocate the existing control tower at Yola Airport in order to enhance the aerial view of the approach path of runway 35 and asked the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to ensure that regulations and certifications of relevant personnel and facilities of the Ministry of Works and Transport, Taraba State Government were appropriately complied with.
In another accident involving Bristow Helicopters Sikorsky S76C++ Helicopter with registration number 5N-BQJ, at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja on February 3, 2016, the commissioner said it was caused by non-adherence of the crew to company’s operations manual regarding after take-off checks.
Olateru added that the crew failed to disengage the autopilot to fly the aircraft manually.
The agency advised Bristow Helicopters to ensure that flight crew follow approved checklist items, and procedures at all times and should consider reviewing the procedures for returning crew back to flight duties after staying out of flight duty for up to 30 days.
The commissioner said underestimation of heavy rain, visibility and strong wind on short final and landing caused another accident involving a Boeing MD-83 aircraft operated by Dana Airlines, which occurred at Port Harcourt International Airport on February 20, 2018.
He said the crew on the aircraft with registration number 5N-SRI lost communication with the Air Traffic Control during the final approach, preventing the flow of information on runway surface condition, adding that the crew failed to crosscheck the prevailing wind and obtain landing clearance after contact was restored.