May 21 Air Force Plane Crash: AIB Submits Interim Report

The Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, Engr Akin Olateru has submitted an interim report on the plane crash that killed the former Nigeria’s Army chief, Lt-Gen Ibrahim Attahiru and other military officers on May 21, 2021 in Kaduna State.

The AIB boss submitted the report of the tragic incident to the Chief of Air Staff, CAS, Air Marshal Amao, at NAF Headquarters, Abuja.

TheFact Nigeria had reported that the crash occured as the plane was landing at Kaduna International Airport. Apart from General Attahiru, ten other officers, including the plane’s crew also lost their lives.

According to a press release jointly signed by NAF and AIB Spokespersons, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet and Tunji Oketunbi, respectively, following the unfortunate incident involving a Nigerian Air Force King Air -350 aircraft in the vicinity of Kaduna Civil Airport on 21 May 2021, the CAS directed that a joint investigative body consisting of experienced NAF safety officers and the AIB be constituted to investigate the circumstances surrounding the air crash.

The statement added that after about three months of painstaking joint investigation, the Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of AIB, Engr Akin Olateru, on Wednesday, 15 September, 2021 submitted an interim report on the sad incident to the CAS at his office at NAF Headquarters, Abuja.

The statement further disclosed that the report was organized into three sections: the information obtained in the course of the investigation; analysis of data collected in view of the Board’s Terms of Reference; and the conclusion, which covers the initial findings and immediate recommendations.

“It should be noted that at this interim stage, a total of 27 initial findings and 8 immediate safety recommendations were made for the convening authority as well as other aviation related agencies for immediate implementation. It is expected that the final report will contain the flight data recorder readout, the reviewed operator’s and service provider’s standard operating procedures as well as other detailed analysis”, the statement read.

While receiving the report, the Air Chief reiterated the main essence of activating the ‘joint investigative’ clause contained in the Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, signed between the NAF and the AIB on 1 July, 2020.

According to him, the successful collaboration is a clear indication of the potency of collaboration in aircraft accident investigation, which must be encouraged. Air Marshal Amao also noted that such collaborative efforts make accident investigations more transparent and open while also stating that the outcome of the investigation is not necessarily aimed at punitive measures but essentially at generally improving safety in the aviation industry.

On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of AIB, Engr Akin Olateru, stated that the joint investigation with the NAF was its first direct involvement in military air crash investigation in Nigeria and second investigation outside its mandate, having also assisted Sao Tome and Principe in the past.

He also disclosed that copies of the report, with the endorsement of the CAS, will also be submitted to the Minister of Aviation and Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, to ensure that the recommendations addressed to aviation agencies are implemented.

The Commissioner further stated that although the accident involved a military aircraft and crew, it happened at a civil airport, adding that the involvement of AIB in the investigation by the Nigerian Air Force would help in closing the gaps on the civil aviation side.

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