By Chinelo Obogo, [email protected] 07064781119
The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has said investigation into an accident involving a Bell 429 helicopter with Registration Marks 5N-MDA owned and operated by Nigerian Police has begun.
In a statement by AIB’s General Manager, Public Affairs, Tunji Oketunbi, the Bureau was notified of the accident on Tuesday, January 26, by Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and that the accident occurred on same date around 7:30pm (local time) at Bauchi Airport.
The helicopter had departed Abuja at 16:54 UTC for Bauchi with six persons on board. However, there were some injuries but no fatality.
“On 26th January, 2022, Accident Investigation Bureau, Nigeria, was notified by Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) about an accident involving a Bell 429 helicopter with Registration Marks 5N-MDA, owned and operated by Nigeria Police Force (NPF). The accident occurred on 26th January, 2022 around 7:30pm (local ime) at Bauchi Airport.
“The NPF helicopter had departed Abuja at 16:54 UTC for Bauchi with six persons on board maintaining 5,500ft. There were some injuries but no fatality. The investigating agency, AIB-N needs and hereby solicits for your assistance. We want the public to know that we would be amenable to receiving any video clips, evidences, or information any member of the public may have of the accident that can assist us with this investigation. The Bureau will appreciate that the general public and press respect the privacy of the people involved and not assume the cause of the accident until formal report is released,” Oketunbi said.
In a related development, AIB and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria (NCAT) have reaffirmed their commitment to stronger collaboration in the area of capacity development and other aviation industry projects.
The Bureau has also announced that it would launch its world-class training facility that would be the first in Africa before the end of 2023.
The AIB-N commissioner, Akin Olateru, disclosed this on Wednesday when the Rector of NCAT, Capt. Alkali Modibbo, and his management team paid him a courtesy call at the AIB corporate head office in Abuja. The two aviation agencies also discussed areas of mutual benefits and collaboration that would further improve aviation safety and development.
In his opening remarks, Moddibo said it is significant that continuous synergy is maintained among associate agencies, considering the global challenges facing the aviation industry that requires tremendous innovation and dedication.
The Commissioner said the AIB-N training center located close to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport , Abuja, is about 90 percent completed and should be ready at about the third quarter of 2022.
He also said the essence of the facility is to deepen training as AIB-N prioritises manpower development, adding that the NCAT’s visit will deepen their collaboration on training and urged the school to create a platform for training all non-technical personnel of the aviation industry on aviation awareness appreciation programme.
“AIB is setting up a training school, which is the first of its kind in the history of Africa and we have been talking to NCAT among great institutions in the world that teach aircraft accident investigation courses. We have worked on a curriculum and we will want us to revisit that because the training school is about 90 per cent completed.
“Training is extremely important in any organisation and that is what makes it grow and it has been central to what we do. So far, in the AIB, we have trained 48 of our staff at NCAT. Before the end of this year, we will be training 16 of our staff to have a private pilot licence (PPL). The programme is starting February 14. So far, we have trained 17 of our aircraft engineers at NCAT and we are currently having nine of our of staff on students review.
“We have also trained two of our air traffic controllers and two dispatchers at NCAT. Recently, one of the new units we set up, the Command and-Control Centre also had seven staff trained on radiotelephony. So, it is a partnership that is growing” he noted.
Responding, Modibbo also said AIB-N’s commitment to acquiring modern facilities and manpower development resonates positively with NCAT adding that the school has been re-equipping to remain at the forefront in aviation education.
The Rector urged for more patronage from AIB-N even as he appreciated the synergy between the two agencies in the area of capacity development. He also stressed the efforts being made by the aviation college to enhance security in its campus adding that more than 40 armed security operatives have been deployed to man the institution’s security system. According to him both the Kaduna State and the Federal Government were working hard to ensure adequate security in the area.