Crash: Accident Bureau to fly Bristow chopper black boxes to UK for examination

 By Dotun Omolaja, Lagos


Thirteen days after a Bristow Sirkorsky 76 – C ++ ditched into the Atlantic Ocean with nine passengers and two members rescued, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB has concluded plans to fly to the United Kingdom essential flight recorders for downloading.


The flights recorders include Cockpit Voice Recorders (CVR), Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and Cockpit Image Recorder (CIR).


At a briefing on Monday, the commissioner of AIB, Dr Felix Abali said the cockpit image recorder will be taken abroad for downloading because the laboratory of the bureau in Abuja cannot handle it.


This is just as he said on going investigations into the cause of the Bristow Helicopter crash is slow because of the inability of representatives of the aircraft manufacturers to secure visas into Nigeria.


He said as critical stakeholders in the accident investigation the delay to secure visas for the aircraft manufacturers has had some impact on the probe into the accident because they have a role to play.


Abali said preliminary investigations thus far indicated that the crew did not have any alcohol in their system from the toxicology tests so far carried.


He said the AIB is working with global bodies to ascertain to cause of the crash affirming that previous accident report in the last six months indicated has opened new vistas for safety recommendations.


Part of the safety recommendation to the manufacturers of the helicopter, Abali said is the need to redesign a certain component of the chopper called “Push Rod “.


“As part of the ongoing investigation into the February 3, 2016 ditching of Bristow Helicopters’ Sikorsky 76C++ with registration number 5N-BQJ into the Atlantic Ocean, the AIB today released the following investigative update.


” The aircraft with nine passengers and two crew members had departed ERHA Oil Platform  en route Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.


“* The crew declared May Day twice. The first was declared by the crew at the 78 Nautical Miles from Lagos complaining of instrument problems. The aircraft descended from 3000 feet to 1500 feet. At this time the Flying Officer (FO) was the Pilot Flying (PF).


“The Captain took over control expecting to stabilize the helicopter but the aircraft was not responding to control inputs. She declared the 2nd May Day to the Radio Operator at the offshore platform, which was relayed to the ATC by two separate aircraft. One aircraft was following the communication and relayed the ditching, which occurred at 10:20am at 29 Nautical Miles away from the platform.


“All the eleven souls on board were rescued alive.

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