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Navy: Interim Report on Bayelsa Helicopter Crash Inconclusive

News » Editorials

Date: 8th, MARCH, 2013

Image:  Wreckage of the ill-fate helicopter crash

The Accident Investigation Board (AIB) constituted by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) to ascertain the cause of the ill-fated Augusta helicopter crash of December 15, 2012 that killed six people on board, including the Governor of Kaduna State, Patrick Yakowa, and former National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Andrew Azazi, has submitted an interim report to the Nigerian Navy.

The interim report of the investigative board, which was set up at the instance of the navy, will be subjected to further investigation.

In a statement issued yesterday by the Naval Director of Information, Commodore Kabiru Aliyu, the navy said the real cause of the crash could not be ascertained, but added that it might have been caused either by human error or material failure or a combination of both.

Aliyu however said that in order to be certain of the immediate and remote causes of the tragic air mishap, the aircraft’s engine would have to be subjected to a detailed forensic analysis.

He noted that the naval headquarters had already mandated the manufacturers of the NN07 Agusta-Westland engine, Turbomeca, to carry out the forensic analysis phase of the investigation.

He said: “The investigation which was conducted by aviation experts in collaboration with the manufacturers of the aircraft – Agusta Westland – has stated that the cause of the crash could either be human error or material failure or a combination of both.

“However, to determine the actual cause of the crash there is the need to tear down the engine of the helicopter in order to carry out a detailed forensic analysis.

“This aspect of the investigation will be carried out by Turbomeca, the manufacturers of the engine.”

The naval spokesman debunked any perceived act of sabotage as being the cause of the crash, adding that an independent police report has ruled out the possibility.

“It is important to emphasise that an independent police report has equally ruled out sabotage as a possible cause of the crash. Further information on the investigation would be made public when available,” he said.

The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Joseph Ezeoba, immediately after the helicopter crash, had set up a board of enquiry to investigate the remote and immediate causes of the crash.

Ezeoba had set up the six-man investigative panel after the Naval Chief of Training and Operations, Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogbor, had confirmed that all the Nigerian Navy helicopters in operation, including the crashed NN07, were properly maintained in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications.

Article Credit: The Thisday News

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