AIB-N to train airlines’ personnel in accident investigation

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*L-R: Col. Brice Okomou, investigator in charge, ministry of transport, Cameroon, Mrs. Leopoldine Essimi, Commissioner/CEO, AIB-N, Mr. Akin Olateru, Mr. Kofo Macaulay of Caverton Nigeria and director of operations, AIB-N, Capt. Dayyabu Danraka, at a joint press briefing held at AIB-N Headquarters in Abuja, Wednesday, August 10.

The Accident Investigation Bureau Nigeria (AIB-N) has said that its world-class training school which is near completion in Abuja will play a significant role in training airlines’ personnel in accident investigation.

Commissioner of the bureau, Mr. Akin Olateru stated this in Abuja recently when he received the investigation team from Cameroon probing the crash of the Havilland DHC -6-400 Twin Otter aircraft operated by Caverton Cameroon.

The Cameroonian team led by Mrs. Leopoldine Essimi of the ministry of transport included Col. Brice Okomou, Capt. Raymond Ekenglo and Mrs. Mispa Samnick.

Recall that the aircraft marked TJ-TIM) was operating Yaoundé (Nsimalen) – Dompta – Yaoundé (Nsimalen) on May 11, 2022 when it crashed killing all the passengers and crew members.

The wreckage of the aircraft was found in a forest, not far from Nanga Eboko.

The commissioner said in a statement by the agency’s spokesman, Mr. Tunji Oketunbi that when the school is fully commissioned the training programme will help the airlines in investigating occurrences with a view to enhancing safety in their operations.

Olateru said the institute was near completion and is expected to commence operations before the end of the year.

He added that Singapore and other countries had signified readiness to assist the AIB training school.

He also called on all Nigerian airlines to establish a unit for accident investigation in their respective organisations to enhance air safety.

He explained that such units would help the airlines to understand and take advantage of the benefits of accident investigation to boost safety in their operations.

According to Olateru, big carriers like American Airlines have such units, which, according to him, have greatly benefited the carriers.

The commissioner added that it is the responsibility of everyone to have an understanding of accident investigation in Africa.

Speaking at the event, Essimi said they were in Nigeria to seek AIB-N’s expertise in the reading of the flight recorders, transcription of the cockpit voice recorder (CVR), analysis of the flight data recorder (FDR) and FDR animation.

In his remarks, Olateru Nigeria was part of the investigation in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Annex 13 since there were Nigerians onboard the ill-fated aircraft.

However, he said Cameroon had not decided whether it would cede the investigation completely to Nigeria or not.

He said AIB-N would assist the country in the investigation with her flight safety laboratory, which according to him is one of the best in the world currently.

He announced that the laboratory has an upgraded facility called Memory Access Retriever System (MARS), which will be deployed to retrieve information from the CVR, which was badly burnt and damaged.

“As you are aware, we have one of the best safety laboratories in the world. We have the capability, which the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has, which is getting information from burnt or damaged flight recorders. This aircraft crashed and a recorder badly burnt but we will be able to retrieve the information. This is one of the best equipment you can find in the world today.

“You will understand that this is not the first time Nigeria will be helping other nations. We helped Sao Tome and Principe during an investigation. We helped Gambia. We helped Niger republic. We are helping Sierra Leone.

“We just got an approval from the ministry of justice to sign a memorandum of understanding with Sierra Leone to help them set up an accident investigation body. This is where we are today,” Olateru added.

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