By Favour Nnabugwu
The Accident Investigation Bureau, Nigeria (AIB-N), has directed all airlines, both commercial and non commercial operating in the country to establish an accident investigation unit in the offices
This is coming against the backdrop of the Havilland DHC -6-400 Twin Otter operated by Caverton Cameroon that crashed in May 2022.
It was learnt that the DHR-6-400 Twin Otter (registered TJ-TIM) was operating Yaoundé (Nsimalen) – Dompta – Yaoundé (Nsimalen) on May 11, 2022 when it crashed killing all the passengers and crew members. The aircraft was found crashed in a forest, not far from Nanga Eboko.
Both countries are exploring areas of cooperation and collaboration that can boost accident investigation and air safety in Africa.
However, the Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of Accident Investigation Bureau, Nigeria (AIB-N), Engr. Akin Olateru while receiving the investigation team from Cameroon probing the crash stated that, Nigeria was part of the investigation in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Annex 13 since there were Nigerians onboard the ill-fated aircraft.
He said: “Cameroon has not decided whether it would cede the investigation completely to Nigeria or not.
“Nigeria will be assisting Cameroon in the investigation with her Flight Safety Laboratory, which is one of the best in the world currently.
“The laboratory has an upgraded facility called Memory Access Retriever System (MARS), which will be deployed to retrieve information from the CVR, which was badly burnt and damaged.
“As you are aware, we have one of the best safety laboratories in the world. We have the capability, which the United States NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) has, which is getting information from burnt or damaged flight recorders. This aircraft crashed and a recorder badly burnt but we will be able to retrieve the information. This is one of the best equipment you can find in the world today.
“You will understand that this is not the first time Nigeria will be helping other nations. We helped Sao Tome and Principe during an investigation. We helped Gambia. We helped Niger republic. We are helping Sierra Leone”.
“We just got an approval from the Ministry of Justice to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Sierra Leone to help them set up an accident investigation body. This is where we are today. “
He stated that the unit would help the airlines to understand and take advantage of the benefits of accident investigation to boost safety in their operations.
“Big carriers like American Airlines have such units, which has greatly benefited the carriers adding that it is the responsibility of everyone to have an understanding of accident investigation in Africa.
“When fully commissioned AIB-N training school will play significant role in training airlines’ personnel in accident investigation, which will help them in investigating occurrences with a view to enhancing safety in their operations.
“The AIB Training School, a world class training institution located in Abuja is near completion and is expected to commence operations before the end of the year. Singapore and other two countries have signified readiness to assist the AIB training school.”
Meanwhile, the Cameroonian delegation led by Mrs Leopoldine Essimi of Ministry of Transport included Col. Brice Okomou, Capt. Raymond Ekenglo and Mrs Mispa Samnick.
According to her, “We are in Nigeria to seek AIB-N expertise in the reading of the flight recorders, transcription of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR), analysis of the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and FDR animation.”