VICE PRESIDENT YEMI OSINBAJO’S HELICOPTER ACCIDENT WAS CAUSED BY HUMAN ERROR, INVESTIGATION REVEALS
Final reports of investigations carried out on the February 2, 2019 helicopter accident involving the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo in Kogi State reveals that the incident was as a result of human error, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) says.
Recall that a helicopter conveying the Vice President and 11 others crashed in the Kabba area of Kogi State during the 2019 presidential election campaign.
Preliminary report released earlier said the crew lost visual contact with the ground at about 50 feet due to the amount of dust generated while landing.
However, AIB released a new report on Tuesday, July 28 which says the aircraft managed by Caverton Helicopter crashed as a result of a human error.
Below is the full report on the Vice President’s helicopter crash released by the Accident Investigation Bureau:
Final Report on the accident involving AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter operated by Caverton Helicopters Limited with nationality and registration marks 5N-CML, which occurred at Kabba, Kogi State on 2nd February, 2019.
On 2nd February, 2019 at about 07:26 h, an Agusta Westland (AW139) helicopter with nationality and registration marks 5N-CML operated by Caverton Helicopters Limited departed Lagos for Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, to conduct a VIP charter flight from Abuja to Okene via Kabba and return to Abuja. The positioning flight to Abuja was normal. The helicopter was refuelled and the flight crew prepared for the VIP charter flight to Kabba.
At about 13:46 h, the helicopter departed Abuja runway 22 for Kabba. On board were 12 persons including the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, his entourage and three crew members (Pilot, Co-pilot and an Engineer). The flight crew stated that they sighted the intended landing area as a result of the cloud of residual dust generated by the downwash of a Police helicopter.
After sighting the football field, the flight crew approached with the speed of 20 kt to about a 100 ft, and entered a hover to land. At about 50 ft above ground level, a brownout set in. The flight crew lost visual contact with the ground and external surroundings. The Co-pilot began radio altitude callouts “35, 30, 25, 20 and 15”. At about 14:34 h, the helicopter experienced a hard landing on the right main landing gear and rolled over onto its right side. All persons on board were evacuated uninjured.
The flight crew encountered a brownout condition during the hover to land, which led to the loss of external visual references, spatial disorientation and loss of situational awareness resulting in a misjudgement of distance and ground clearance, as the flight crew tried to control the helicopter’s movements for landing. The helicopter landed hard and rolled over on its right side.
Inappropriate landing technique used, non-adherence to company procedures for known or anticipated brownout condition during landing and lack of risk assessment, limited landing site preparation and planning prior to commencement of the flight.
Eleven days after the accident, the AIB issued two Interim Safety Recommendations, one to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and one to Caverton Helicopters. The required safety actions were initiated and implemented promptly.
Two Safety Recommendations were issued in the Final Report.
Safety Recommendation 2020-001
Conduct a Safety Management System (SMS) audit of Caverton Helicopters. The SMS audit by the NCAA should ensure that Caverton Helicopters has implemented the Immediate Safety Recommendation 2019-003, the NCAA All Operators Letter (FSG 002), and the recommendations documented in the Caverton Helicopters internal SMS investigation of this accident. The NCAA audit should also ascertain that the Caverton Helicopters internal SMS processes in the maintenance activities require the establishment of the reasons/causes of equipment failure/malfunction (reference is made to the failures of the Multi-Purpose Flight Recorder (MPFR) and the unavailability of the reasons of the failures).
Safety Recommendation 2020-002
The Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) should
Consider whether the Presidential Air Fleet (PAF) Unit should be involved in the coordination and preparation of all high profile Executive VIP mission (flights) in order to ensure that all Executive VIP flights are conducted in accordance with the PAF Unit’s Standards and in line with its approved operating procedures.