Bristow Helicopter Crash: Efforts To Recover Black Box Continue
The main body of the Bristow Helicopters that crashed into Lagos Lagoon on Wednesday has been recovered but the black boxes were not in them, an official of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has said.
Giving update of the ongoing investigation into the accident to ascertain what happened before, during and after the helicopter crashed, the Commissioner of the AIB, Mr Felix Abali, told reporters in Lagos that search for the black boxes would continue.
Mr Abali said that the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter was believed to have departed Sedco Oil platform offshore on 12 August but crashed on its approach to landing at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Ikeja, the capital of Lagos State in south-west Nigeria.
He said: “The main part of the aircraft has been recovered, but the black boxes where not on it.
“The crew, Julius Berger, will be back there on Friday to continue the search for those black boxes”.
Six persons died in the accident while six others survived.
The identities of the passengers of the helicopter have not been revealed and the AIB Commissioner said some protocols must be observed before the release of the details.
“The issue of the manifest, we do have a copy of the manifest. But you know that there are protocols involved in releasing names of individuals.
“The Individuals’ families have been briefed and families have to be informed before anything will be made public,” Mr Abali explained.
Release Of Preliminary Report
The AIB Commissioner did not confirm if the control tower received any distress call from the pilot before the crash.
According to him, the six survivors are in stable condition.
Attempts to reach the management of Bristow Helicopters on General Aviation Terminal Road, Ikeja, were not successful, as no management official was around to speak on the issue.
Going by the international Civil Aviation Rules, the AIB has 30 days to release the preliminary report on circumstances surrounding the crash of the helicopter.
In 2002, G-BJVX, a commercial Sikorsky S-76A helicopter operated by Norwich-based Bristow Helicopters, crashed in the evening of 16 July in the southern North Sea while it was making a ten-minute flight between the gas production platform Clipper and the drilling rig Global Santa Fe Monarch, after which it was to return to Norwich Airport.
After investigations into that accident, the audio recordings from the Cockpit voice recorder revealed that the crew were unaware of any significant abnormality until the flight from the Clipper platform to the Monarch platform.
About 4.5 minutes into this flight, they discussed an increase in vibration. The non-handling pilot carried out a “rotor track and balance” procedure; the increase in vibration did not cause the crew any immediate concern and the procedure was carried out to enable the Integrated Health and Usage Monitoring System to log rotor track and balance data for later analysis.
The Air Accidents Investigation Branch and the helicopter’s manufacturer, Stratford, Connecticut-based Sikorsky Aircraft, reached the opinion that the electrical energy imparted by the lightning strike in 1999 exploited an anomaly that was built into the blade at manufacture and damaged the spar.
The Sikorsky S-76 is an American medium-size commercial utility helicopter, manufactured by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation.
The S-76 features twin turbo shaft engines, four-bladed main and tail rotors and retractable landing gear.