Accident Investigation Bureau, Nigeria (AIB-N) has urged Nigerian airlines to establish accident investigation units in their respective organisations, to enhance air safety.
Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of the AIB-N, Akin Olateru, while receiving the investigation team from Cameroon probing the crash of the Havilland DHC -6-400 operated by Caverton Cameroon, at the Bureau’s headquarters, in Abuja, recently, said the in-house mechanism would help airlines to understand and take advantage of probes and safety benefits.
Olateru noted that big carriers like American Airlines have such units, which had greatly benefited the carriers. He said it is the responsibility of everyone to have an understanding of accident investigation in Africa.
The Commissioner further disclosed that when fully commissioned, AIB-N training school would play a significant role in training airlines’ personnel in accident investigation, which would 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, according to Olateru, have signified readiness to assist the AIB training school.
The Cameroonian delegation, led by Leopoldine Essimi of the Ministry of Transport, included Col. Brice Okomou, Capt. Raymond Ekenglo and Mispa Samnick.
According to Essimi, they were 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.
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 wreckage was found in a forest, not far from Nanga Eboko.
According to Olateru, 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. However, Cameroon has not decided whether it would cede the investigation completely to Nigeria or not.
The Commissioner said Nigeria would be assisting Cameroon in the investigation with her Flight Safety Laboratory, which according to him 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 that compares with that of the United States’ National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to get information from burnt or damaged flight recorders. This aircraft crashed and a recorder badly burnt but we will be able to retrieve the information,” Olateru said.
The two countries are, however, exploring areas of cooperation and collaboration that can boost accident investigation and air safety in Africa.
“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 the Niger Republic. We are helping Sierra Leone. We just got 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 said.