The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) yesterday said the June 3, 2012 Dana Air crash was caused by engine failure and inappropriate decision by the crew.
The Dana’s Boeing MD-83 aircraft, with registration number 5N-RAM, which was going to Lagos from Abuja, crashed in the densely populated Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos State. It crashed into a two-storey building killing all 153 passengers on board, including six crew. There were also six confirmed ground fatalities.
According to the AIB Commissioner, Mr. Akin Olateru, while presenting final reports on the crash and three other serious incidents, the bureau carried out investigation on the accident in accordance with International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Annex 13 and had issued four interim reports before arriving at the final report.
Said he: “The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) of the United States of America (USA), representing the state of design and manufacture of the aircraft, appointed an accredited representative along with a team of experts from Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Boeing company and Pratt & Whitney USA.
“The operator (Dana Air) co-operated with the investigators and provided assistance as required. The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) was kept informed of developments.”
He said one of the probable causal factors, according to investigations, was that the engine number one of the aircraft lost power 17 minutes into the flight, and thereafter, on final approach, engine number two lost power.
Olateru said plane thereafter failed to respond to throttle movement on demand for increased power to sustain it in its flight configuration.
According to him, “other causal factors were 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.
“It was also caused by a lack of situation awareness, inappropriate decision making, and poor airmanship.”
The commissioner said the AIB consequently made eight safety recommendations to the FAA, NCAA, Dana Air and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), which had been accepted and closed.
He also presented a final report on the accident involving OAS Helicopters, with registration number 5NBKA, which crashed at Oke-Oba Hill, Ikonifin, in Osun State on July 29, 2011, killing three persons.
He said the causal factor was the non-adherence of the pilot to visual flight rules of clear-of cloud and obstacles while maintaining ground contact at all times, led to Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT).
According to him, the contributory factors were as a result of the pilot not instrument-rated and also unfamiliar with the route.
Olateru further presented report on the serious incident involving Presidential Implementation Committee on Maritime Safety and Security (PICOMSS), with Registration 5N-BKS at the Benin Airport on July 5, 2012.
He said there were no fatalities in the incident, which was caused by the decision of the crew to continue the glide approach in spite of repeated landing gear warnings, with the power lever below 25 per cent, rather than initiating a go-around.
The AIB boss also presented a report on the serious incident involving Bristow Helicopters Limited’s Sikorsky S-92, with registration number 5N-BOA in Lagos on February 27, 2013.
He said the eight passengers and crew members were deplaned without any injuries, following a fault developed by the aircraft midair.
He reiterated that the purpose of investigation was for prevention of recurrence and not punitive, adding that the proceeding was not conducted for the purpose of recurrence the rights or liability of any persons.
Olateru said the cost of investigating an accident or serious incident was very huge, noting that the AIB only had less than N16 million to investigate accidents in its 2017 budget.
He said: “We use this opportunity to plead for our minister to use his good office to see the possibility of creating a special funds for accident investigation.
“The bureau needs funds for the purpose of exploring preventive measures for accident or serious incident and for its readiness, in cases an accident or serious incident occurs.”