Dana plane crash site
The immediate past Rector of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology,
(NCAT) Capt. Adebayo Araba, has expressed optimism about the Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) of the ill-fated Dana aircraft that crashed recently in Lagos.
He said if the instruments were not serviceable as at the time the ill-fated plane
crash occurred, nothing meaningful would come out of the current investigation on the cause of the sad incident.
Speaking to journalists in Lagos, Capt. Araba expressed hope that the FDR and the CVR of the crashed Dana Air were still serviceable as at the time it crashed for the accident investigator to get at least 30 minutes of recorded events before the crash.
According to him, “If the Flight Data Recorder and the Cockpit Voice Recorder were not serviceable at the time of the crash, Nigeria would have lost all the useful information that would have been used by investigators to ascertain the cause of the crash. If not, it would be practically impossible for investigators to tell the Nigerian public the cause of the accident.”
He lamented that those without tangible business at the crash site encroached the site immediately the accident occurred, stressing that information that would have been useful to investigators were completely contaminated.
“Hardly can you get anything meaningful from the crash site that could lead to the probable cause of the crash. There was complete contamination. The only thing as I speak now is the FDR and CVR evidences. If that plane flew that day without a serviceable FDR and CVR, we are completely at a loss. That means nobody will be able to tell exactly what really went wrong with that aeroplane,” Araba stressed.
He however noted that the age of an aircraft goes a long way in determining its safety level especially in the country where operators allegedly toy with regular maintenance of their airplanes.
He explained that the cutting corners allegations against the airline operators began when owners of old aircraft could not maintain their fleet, decrying that since the country started recording accidents, no one had been brought to book.
He however explained that older aircraft are still flying in countries like US and United Kingdom, but emphasised that their governments are strict with maintenance of the airplanes.
He said, “Let me ask you a question, why do you buy a second hand car if you want to buy a car? It is because you don’t have enough money to buy a new one. Then, you cut your coat according to your size, but aeroplane is quite different. Anybody that cannot afford to buy a brand new aeroplane and is shopping around for a used aeroplane, he wants something at a giveaway price.
“I will tell you this and I can tell this to anybody that such a person cannot maintain that aeroplane because the cost of maintenance of an old aeroplane is much higher than that of a new aeroplane. This is where cutting corners come in. You want to make money at the expense of lives of the people and once there is a crash, nobody talks, the country moves on.
“In America, even 25 or 30 years old aircraft are still flying, but you better be sure you are doing the right thing or else, you will find yourself behind bars. I don’t support the use of old airplanes for our industry. Somebody that cannot pay salaries, do you think such a person can do maintenance?” he queried.
He noted that the crash had turned some people without experience in the sector into experts overnight while the real experts had kept mute waiting for the outcome of investigations by Accident Investigators Bureau (AIB).