An aviation expert has castigated the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) for its recent accident report on the June 3, 2012 Dana Air crash.
Grp. Capt. John Ojikutu, the former Commandant at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, argued that the AIB lacks adequate manpower and expertise to carry out effective accident investigations. While AIB Commissioner Akin Olateru claimed that the bureau does not have sufficient funding to improve its investigations, Mr. Ojikutu insisted that its shortage of professionals poses greater challenges to its investigative capacity.
He added that the bureau also lacked effective supervision that would ensure due analytical process in the investigation and produce unbiased reports.
According to Mr. Ojikutu, a Ministerial Committee in 2014 had revealed that the AIB had a total workforce of 68, but with just 14 technical staff who were aircraft accident investigators.
He declared that out of the 14 technical staff, eight of them were contract staff while only six were full staffs of the agency.
“With only six permanent technical staff and eight contract technical staff, AIB lack the capacity that is required to do a thorough analysis of the various serious accidents in the AIB library inventory, like the Bellview crash of October 2005, the Sosoliso crash of December 2005, and of course the Dana Air crash of June 2012.
“These accidents had their reports among the 63 aircraft accidents and serious incidents reports in the AIB library inventory. However, the Ministerial Committee found only 34 reports, but 29 of the reports were not available and were presumed to be missing. The committee could therefore review the 158 safety recommendations that were recorded from the 34 accidents reports that were available,” he said.
Mr. Ojikutu emphasized that the AIB’s accident report on Dana Air was particularly subpar, as it lacked due diligence and accurate investigations into possible causes of the accident.
He insisted that the causes of the plane crash as enumerated in the AIB final report were not convincing to many of the stakeholders and discerning public, as there were gaps in the report that were not sufficiently addressed, making the entire report questionable.
Mr. Ojikutu specifically questioned whether the AIB sufficiently analyzed the plane’s “May Day” report of dual engine failure. He also queried if the investigators were aware that the plane’s fuel valve electrical plug was worked on the day before the flight, as this fact was not referenced in the report.
He added, “Was the AIB aware that there had been three previous accidents reports in its library that were cases of fuel contaminations and that these included Network Aviation Services 5N-ATE, June 2001; Executive Airline Services (EAS) 5N-ESF, May 2002 and Nigerian Police Aircraft 5N-POL, November 2012?
“The analysis of previous maintenance records, previous accidents reports and flight information reports from the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) communication are the basis that could or should have been the AIB starting point.
“These could have given the investigators some reasons to suspect fuel starvation or contamination, unfortunately, the report of the investigators never gave significant considerations to any of these. This is professional negligence.”
SOURCE: sahara reporters (news)