The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) monday confirmed that it had retrieved all necessary documents, recording and fuel samples pertaining to the ill-fated Bristow-operated S-76 helicopter which, last Wednesday, crashed into the Lagoon at the Oworonshoki area of Lagos with six fatalities out of 12 persons board.
According to the spokesman of AIB, Tunji Oketunbi, the Bureau has collected files from the airline, Bristow, that detailed the helicopter’s history, files from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on the profile and maintenance history of the aircraft and files on the crew members and the audio recording between the Air Traffic Control (ATC) and the pilots’ conversation before the crash.
Oketunbi said: “We have files on the airline, crew members, aircraft; we have retrieved all their files, maintenance manual of the particular helicopter, fuel sample of the fuel in the aircraft and the records of the conversation between the pilots and the Air Traffic Controllers. NCAA has the files on the crew because it licensed them. Every pilot and every cabin crew has files in NCAA.”
In addition, AIB will interview those who dispatched the aircraft to know the airworthiness of the helicopter before it took off for the ill-fated flight, the survivors of the crash, including the engineers in Bristow and those in NCAA that certified the aircraft airworthy.
Oketunbi said that it is the basic thing to do to collect fuel sample of the aircraft involved in accident to know whether it contributed to the crash, adding that so far, the airline was cooperating with the Bureau in its investigation, but noted that by law, the airline must cooperate with AIB.
“We also have the prerogative by law to forcefully impound documents and recordings and other things that are necessary if the airline is not cooperating. We can break into the offices of the company and take whatever we need in the investigation, but the company is cooperating,” Oketunbi noted.
He confirmed that all the materials collected would help the Bureau carry out comprehensive investigation into the crash as it contained a selection of actual audio clips of conversations between ATC facilities and crew members of the aircraft before the accident, adding that the sizes of each file in kilobytes are located next to the ‘Download’ link.
It was also learnt that some of the files are quite large, thus, they might require a long period of time to be completely downloaded , adding that with the downloading of the tape and the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) also referred to as black box, the cause of the helicopter crash would be revealed.
The black box, had been flown from its office in Lagos to the Abuja office, where its Flight Safety Laboratory is located and the technical staff of the Bureau had said it would carry out the investigation but might need external help if necessary.
Bristow at the weekend said it would not make public the manifest of the flight until it had approval from the families of the deceased involved in the accident. -Thisday