Engine failure, human error caused 2012 Dana Air crash – investigators

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Mechanical failure and pilot error caused a 2012 air crash in Nigeria that killed 159 people, accident investigators said in a report published on Monday.

The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) said two engines on the doomed Dana Air flight from the capital, Abuja, failed mid-air before it crashed on approach to Lagos airport.

“Engine number one lost power 17 minutes into the flight, and thereafter on final approach, engine number two lost power and failed to respond to throttle movement on demand for increased power to sustain the aircraft in its flight configuration,” the report stated.

The “inappropriate omission of the use of the checklist and the crew’s inability to appreciate the severity of the power-related problem, and their subsequent failure to land at the nearest suitable airfield” also contributed to the crash, it added.

Investigators said “lack of situation awareness, inappropriate decision-making and poor airmanship” were also to blame for the crash on June 3, 2012.

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The Dana Air crash was one of the worst accidents in Nigerian aviation history.

The Boeing MD-83 aircraft was carrying 153 passengers and crew when it crashed into a densely-populated area in the north of Lagos and burst into flames. Six people were killed on the ground.

The long-running investigation involved officials from the airline, engine manufacturers Pratt & Whitney and international aviation experts.

“Everybody is satisfied with the final report and those found wanting have made necessary adjustments,” said Olateru.

Nigerian aviation authorities suspended Dana’s operating licence on June 5, 2012, two days after the crash.

But it was briefly allowed to resume operation in January 2013 after meeting some safety standards but did not start full operations until the following January.

Dana Air was among the most popular carriers in Nigeria before the accident, with heavy traffic on its Abuja-Lagos route.

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AIB commissioner Akin Olateru told reporters the agency, which released a preliminary report on the crash in September 2012, spent so long on the investigation because of cash shortages.

He said the agency needed more funding, as the 16 million naira ($50,000, 47,000 euros) allocated in 2017 was not enough.

Nigeria’s worst air accident was in 1973, when 176 people died in a crash involving a Nigeria Airways Boeing 707 flying from Jeddah to Kano, according to the Aviation Safety Network website.

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