Accident bureau uncovers 37 unresolved air crashes

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Maureen Ihua-Maduenyi

The Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau, Mr. Akin Olateru, said on Thursday that he met about 37 accident reports pending at the bureau in January this year.

Olateru, who stated this at Quarter 1 breakfast meeting of the Aviation Roundtable in Lagos, also said that the reports of four air crashes involving a Dana Air aircraft, two Bristow helicopters and OAS helicopter would soon be forwarded to the Presidency for approval before making them public.

He said, “I took over at the AIB on January 13, 2017; there were 37 pending accident investigations and the first question I asked was: how many accidents do we have in a year that we have 37 pending accident investigations?

“Today, I’m proud to tell you that four reports are on their way to the President including Dana, two Bristow and AOS Helicopters reports. And by next week, we will make them official reports. Before the end of this year, by the special grace of God, we will release a minimum of 10 reports. There must be a big paradigm shift in the way we do things.”

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Olateru said the era of keeping accident reports in the bureau’s closet was over with his management team.

He lamented that the AIB lacked an emergency number that the public could contact in the case of an accident, adding that the bureau lacked specialists on helicopter accident investigation despite the frequencies of helicopter crashes in the country. He added, “It is one and a half pilots that we have at the AIB. I said one and a half because we have a fresh one who is just joining us. Is that the kind of manpower that can actually investigate accident reports? We have more helicopter incidents than fixed wing incidents in this industry; yet, you don’t have one helicopter pilot at the AIB.

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“These are the issues I’m taking up with the honourable minister and he’s willing to support. We need to strength the system.”

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