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AIB report shows Osinbajo helicopter crashed due to brownout

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THE Accident Investigation Bureau has indicated that the helicopter accident the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had was caused due to a brownout in the landing area.

A helicopter conveying the vice president to a campaign rally in Ogun had crash-landed in Kabba town on February 2.

The preliminary report released by the AIB on Wednesday shows that the crew lost visual contact with the ground at landing due to a brownout.

Speaking at a press briefing at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on Wednesday, Akin Olateru, AIB commissioner and chief executive officer, who said the investigation was still ongoing explained brownout as a situation caused by landing in a dry or sandy environment.

He said the Caverton Helicopters Limited that piloted Osinbajo did not conduct a site survey of the landing field prior to the flight. “Caverton Helicopters Limited did not carry out safety and risk assessment,” Olateru added.

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Based on the wrongdoing of Caverton, the AIB commissioner asked the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority to issue an advisory circular to helicopter operators on the effects of brown-out and how to mitigate it.

He added  Caverton Helicopter should carry out proper risk analysis and assessment before operating flights into unapproved landing pad.

He said the final report on the accident will be released in a few months.

A brownout, in aviation, means an in-flight visibility restriction due to dust or sand in the air.  In the situation, the pilot cannot see nearby objects which provide the outside visual references necessary to control the aircraft near the ground. This can cause spatial disorientation and loss of situational awareness leading to an accident.

No injury was sustained during the February 2 crash-landing by the passengers which included the vice president, his wife, his personal physician, and a serving senator, Babafemi Ojudu.

President Muhammadu Buhari with the Vepee  Osinbajo has been touring around the country for his presidential re-election ambition under the All Progressives Congress party. While campaign rallies will end on Thursday, the presidential election will hold on Saturday, February 16.

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