Months after the crash involving a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) King Air 350 aircraft which occurred on May 21, 2021 at the Kaduna Civil Airport, the Commissioner of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Akin Olateru submitted an interim report to the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Amao, at his office at NAF Headquarters, Abuja.
After the crash, the CAS directed that a joint investigative body consisting of NAF safety officers and the AIB be constituted to investigate the causes.
The report was submitted on Wednesday and it has three sections; the information obtained in the course of the investigation, analysis of data collected in view of the Board’s Terms of Reference and the conclusion, which covers the initial findings and immediate recommendations.
A joint statement by the Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet and General Manager, Public Affairs, AIB, Tunji Oketunbi revealed that at this interim stage, a total of 27 initial findings and eight safety recommendations were made for the convening authority as well as other aviation-related agencies for immediate implementation.
They further disclosed that it is expected that the final report would contain the flight data recorder readout, the reviewed operator’s and service provider’s standard operating procedures as well as other detailed analyses.
While receiving the report, the CAS reiterated the main essence of activating the ‘joint investigative’ clause contained in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the NAF and the AIB on July 1, 2020.
According to him, successful collaboration is a clear indication of the potency of collaboration in aircraft accident investigation, which must be encouraged.
Air Marshal Amao also noted that such collaborative efforts make accident investigations more transparent and open while also stating that the outcome of the investigation is not necessarily aimed at punitive measures but essentially at generally improving safety in the aviation industry.
On his part, Olateru stated that the joint investigation with the NAF was its first direct involvement in military air crash investigation in Nigeria and second investigation outside its mandate having also assisted Sao Tome and Principe in the past.
He also stated that copies of the report, with the endorsement of the CAS, will also be submitted to the Minister of Aviation and Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to ensure that the recommendations addressed to aviation agencies are implemented.
The Commissioner also stated that although the accident involved a military aircraft and crew, it happened at a civil airport adding that the involvement of AIB in the investigation by the Nigerian Air Force would help in closing the gaps on the civil aviation side.