17 December 2012

Nigeria: Navy Sets up Board to Unravel Cause of Helicopter Crash

The Nigerian Navy has constituted a board to unravel the remote and immediate causes of its helicopter, which crashed in Bayelsa on Saturday, Rear Adm Emmanuel Ogbor, has said.

Ogbor, who is the Chief of Training and Operations, announced the constitution of the board at a news conference in Abuja on Monday.

He said that the members, who are aircraft investigation specialists, are drawn from Agusta Westland, the manufacturer of the ill-fated aircraft and other aviation regulatory agencies as provided by extant regulations.

Ogbor said that some components of the helicopter that could assist the board to carry out its investigation had been recovered.

"It is expected that the board will come out with the remote and immediate causes of the accident with far reaching recommendations that will forestall future occurrence," he said.

Ogbor explained that the Navy's helicopters, including the NN07, which crashed on Saturday, were properly maintained and serviced regularly, in accordance with the manufacturer's specification.

He said that the ill-fated helicopter's routine maintenance was concluded on Nov. 10 and was cleared for operations on Nov. 20 by certified technical support engineers.

"At the time of the incident, the helicopter had flown 1,704 flight hours and had more than 80 flight hours before the next scheduled routine maintenance.

"The Nigerian Navy pilots are very experienced. In fact, the captain in command has flown over 800 hours, while the co-pilot had flown over 300 hours.

"All our pilots are trained in the best aviation institutions all over the world.

"Additionally, spare parts for the helicopters are obtained directly from the manufacturers (Agusta Westland) and or its approved maintenance centre worldwide," he said.

On the age of the ill-fated aircraft, Ogbor said that it was inducted into the Navy in 2004 directly from the manufacturer.

NAN recalls that all six people on board the helicopter, including Gov. Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna State, and ex-National Security Adviser, Gen. Andrew Azazi, died in the accident. NAN

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