Nigeria’s Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) said in Lagos today that toxicological tests administered on the crew of the Bristow Helicopters flight which crashed on February 3 proved negative of any substance abuse.
Speaking during a press conference, Commissioner Felix Abali disclosed that representatives of the aircraft manufacturer, with whom AIB is investigating the accident, are still being expected.
“Initial field investigation was carried out by AIB, and vital components relevant to the investigation including FDR/CVR and the Cockpit Image Recorder were retrieved for further investigation,” he disclosed.
He also stated that the aircraft was recovered from the accident site on February 5, ferried onshore and transferred on a trailer to a storage warehouse.
The craft, Sikorsky 76C++ with registration number 5N-BQJ, which was traveling from an Oil Platform to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, had nine passengers on board, along with two crew members. They all survived.
“The crew declared May Day twice,” Dr. Abali said. “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, which was relayed to the ATC by two separate aircraft. One aircraft was following the communication and relayed the ditching, which occurred at 10:20 am at 29 Nautical Miles away from the platform.”
According to the commissioner, a future investigation will cover such issues as the aircraft controls with avionics interface; as well as an examination of maintenance records including, technical logs. Essential flight recorders will be flown out for downloading while TRIM actuators will be sent to the manufacturers for analytical testing.
Further interviews with the crew, maintenance personnel and others relevant to the investigation are ongoing, he also said.