AIB Identifies Human Error as Cause of Most Air Crashes

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By Chinedu Eze

Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has explained that over 90 per cent of air accidents are caused by human error.

This is derived from about 54 accident investigations carried out by the agency since 2007.

It made this known yesterday when it released the causal and contributory factors on the Chanchangi Airline aircraft accident, which occurred over 12 years ago at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Rivers State.

The AIB also released reports of other three accidents and serious incidents, which occurred between May 2011 and September 2018 in Kaduna, Abuja and Zaria.

The other three reports are the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology ( NCAT) Tampico TB-9 aircraft with registration 5N-CBJ; a Beechcraft aircraft with registration N564UZ belonging to Shoreline, and a Veteran Aviation Airline EK-74798 at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

In the four accidents and serious incidents released by AIB, the bureau issued nine safety recommendations, aimed at improving the system and providing crucial intervention.

Speaking at the presentation of the reports yesterday, the Commissioner of AIB, Akin Olateru, said some of the accidents and serious incidents would not happen if the operators adhered strictly to the industry standards and practices, however, said the sector had improved over the years.

On the Chanchangi Airline aircraft with the registration number: 5N-BIG which crash occurred in Port Harcourt on July 14, 2008, the report stated that the decision by the pilot to land following an unstabilised approach was the singular causal factor for the crash.

According to the report, the pilot ought to have initiated a go-around before landing the Boeing 737-282 aircraft.

AIB also identified two contributory factors to the crash, which had 47 persons on board-41 passengers, two flight crew and four flight attendants with three hours fuel in its tank.

The contributory factors, according to Olateru, were the deteriorating weather conditions with a line squall, “which prevented a diversion to the alternates and the wet runway with significant patches of standing water.”

The report did not however issue any safety recommendation on the Chanchangi Airline aircraft accident, saying all the issues, which led to the crash had been addressed by the respective bodies.

He, however, regretted that the report was coming 12 years after the crash, but attributed some challenges in the system to the delay in early release of the report.

According to him, ‘’There is no excuse to keep a report for seven years or more. As we speak, Chanchangi is gone and so if we released a safety recommendation, it will be an open item, and this is why there has to be speed in the release of accident reports.

“I cannot speak for my predecessors. All I can say is there were a lot of challenges with the workforce and procedures, and so with the help for the National Assembly and the Minister of Aviation, we have been able to temporarily solve some of these problems.”

On the accident involving the Tampico TB-9 aircraft operated by the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) Zaria, with nationality and registration marks 5N-CBJ, AIB said late decision to initiate a go-around after touchdown resulted in loss of directional control of the aircraft after landing.

On the Beechcraft C90 aircraft with nationality and registration mark N364UZ, operated by Shoreline Energy International Limited (SEIL), the aircraft crashed on a farm land and engulfed in flames with the two occupants fatally injured.

The AIB discovered a non-adherence to approved storage procedure, calling for regulatory oversight on flight operations and maintenance of foreign registered aircraft in Nigeria.

The AIB also suggested four safety recommendations all to the Nigerian civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

The last accident report on 747-200 aircraft penates by Veteran Avia Airlines limited EK-74798 at the Abuja Airport had as contributory factors lack of briefing by the Saudi dispatcher during pre-flight, missing runway status on Abuja ATIS information, ineffective communication between crew and ATC among others.