Duncan Moore, Managing Director of Bristow Helicopters, has said it that is too premature to conclude on why the Sikorsky S – 76c was ditched in an ocean last week when it developed fault.
Duncan, who disclosed this when the National executive members of Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), led by its president, Comrade Benjamin Okewu paid him condolence visit, said it will take weeks or months of investigation to determine what led to the accident by the Accident Investigations Bureau (AIB).
Duncan warned against speculation on the possible causes of the accident, adding that the aircraft was certified to carry a total of 12 passengers and two crew, saying that comprehensive risk assessment prior to releasing other aircraft type to service was completed.
According to the Bristow boss, both the captain and the first officer were Nigerians, adding that both pilots exceeded minimum customer and regulatory requirements being graduates of Bristow academy with several years of experience.
Duncan explained that names of passengers on board during the accident have been released to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and AIB, saying that the airline as a matter of practice does not disclose name of clients on board.
He stated that Bristow has 16 Sikorsky S-76c aircraft operating in Africa, while assuring of its commitment to safety with its Target Zero safety programme being the airlines culture.
According to him, Bristow has been operating in the country since 1969 supporting oil and gas industry, and assured of cooperation with the AIB and NCAA in carrying out their investigations into the accident.
Duncan said the incident had nothing to do with the redundancy carried out last year as a result of loss of contracts as being peddled by professionals and non-professionals in aviation industry.
He announced that the female pilot who flew the plane has been penciled down for an award at the International Women’s Day scheduled for March 15 this year.
The national president of ATSSSAN, Benjamin Okewu, who led his team to Bristow to show solidarity and support, said it was a trying time for the company.
Okewu promised to partner with them to correct the various erroneous speculations about the company.
He further assured them of their partnership in ensuring that they monitor the standard procedure the NCAA was embarking upon whether it was done in good time without political interference.
Okewu further advised the management to partner more with the League of Airport and Aviation Correspondents (LAAC), to ensure that the right information goes out to the public.