The Accident and Investigation Bureau (AIB) has finally come up with the reason the helicopter, conveying Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to Kabba in Kogi State crashed prior to the 2019 election after months of investigation.
An Augusta Westland (AW139) helicopter, which conveyed Osinbajo with nationality and registration marks 5N-CML, is owned and operated by Caverton Helicopters Limited.
The helicopter had on board 12 persons, including the Vice President, his entourage and three crew members and departed Abuja for Kebba at 1:46 pm on that very day.
A final report of the cause of the crash was revealed by the Commissioner of AIB, Akin Olateru in Abuja on Tuesday
The report said that the pilot lost visual contact with the ground and external surroundings.
The bureau in the report also faulted the crew for inappropriate landing techniques and limited planning before commencement of the flight.
“The flight crew stated that they sighted the intended landing area as a result of the cloud of residual dust generated by the downwash of a Police helicopter,” the report added.
The report revealed that the flight crew, after sighting the football field, “approached with the speed of 20ft to about a 100ft, and entered a hover to land.
“At about 50ft above ground level, a brownout set in. The flight crew lost visual contact with the ground and external surroundings.
“The co-pilot began radio altitude callouts ’35, 30, 25, 20 and 15.’ At about 14:34h, the helicopter experienced a hard landing on the right main landing gear and rolled over onto its right side. All persons on board were evacuated uninjured.
“The flight crew encountered a brownout condition during the hover to land, which led to the loss of external visual references, spatial disorientation, and loss of situational awareness resulting in a misjudgement of distance and ground clearance, as the flight, the crew tried to control the helicopter’s movements for landing. The helicopter landed hard and rolled over on its right side.
“Inappropriate landing technique used, non-adherence to company procedures for known or anticipated brownout condition during landing and lack of risk assessment, limited landing site preparation, and planning prior to commencement of the flight.”
The Vice President had expressed gratitude to God after him and his crew members escaped death in the helicopter crash.
He had said, “We are extremely grateful to the Lord for preserving our lives from the incident that just happened. Everyone of us is safe and no one is maimed.
“We are safe and sound! Thank you to everyone who has expressed concern and thank you to the crew who managed the situation well.
“We believe that God will continue to keep us and Nigeria safe even as we go higher. We continue.”