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Ditched Bristow Helicopter crew absolved of substance abuse



NCAA lifts suspension on Bristow Helicopter Sirkorsky S-76

The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) on Monday disclosed that toxicological tests administered on the crew of the ditched Bristow Helicopters’ Sikorsky 76C++ into the Atlantic Ocean on 3rd of February proved negative of any substance abuse.

Bristow Helicopters

The agency said prior to landing on the water, the Pilots had radio that the aircraft had technical challenge and therefore declared May Day twice.

AIB Commissioner, Dr. Felix Abali at a press briefing on the update as part of the ongoing investigation into the February 3, 2016, incident also explained that initial field investigation was carried out by AIB and vital components relevant to the investigation including Flight Data Recorded and Cockpit Voice Recorder and the Cockpit Image Recorder were retrieved for further investigation.

He said, “The crew declared May Day twice. The first was declared by the crew at the 78 Nautical Miles from Lagos complaining of instrument problems. The aircraft descended from 3000 feet to 1500 feet. At this time the Flying Officer (FO) was the Pilot Flying (PF).

“The Captain took over control expecting to stabilize the helicopter but the aircraft was not responding to control inputs. She declared the 2nd May Day to the Radio Operator at the offshore platform.”

“The danger was relayed to the ATC by two separate aircraft. One aircraft was following the communication and relayed the ditching, which occurred at 10:20am at 29 Nautical Miles away from the platform.”

The agency said the Helicopter manufacturer’s representatives are still being expected as the AIB is carrying out the investigation along with them but that they are face with Visa challenges in the United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Abali further explained that further investigation will focus on the aircraft controls with avionics interface and also interviews the crew, maintenance personnel and others relevant to the investigation are ongoing.

Also, the aircraft maintenance records including Technical Logs will be examined even as Bristow Helicopter is cooperating with AIB in this regard.

The Commissioner said “essential flight recorders will be flown out for downloading while TRIM actuators will be sent to the manufacturers for investigative testing.”

The Bristow Helicopters’ Sikorsky 76C++ with registration number 5N-BQJ ditched into the Atlantic Ocean with with nine passengers and two crew members having departed ERHA Oil Platform en route Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

All the eleven souls on board were rescued alive.

The crew were met on arrival by AIB at the Eko Support Quay where they were transferred to Lagoon Hospital, Lagos Island.

The aircraft was recovered from the accident site on February 5, ferried onshore and transferred on a trailer to a storage warehouse.

Staff Reporter

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