The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), yesterday suspended Bristow Helicopter’s aircraft type SikorskyS-76C++ from further operations in Nigeria till further notice, due to the successive mishaps of the said aircraft type on the coastal waters of Lagos.
This suspension is to enable the NCAA carry out a full scale audit on its operations with particular emphasis on its Sikorsky S-76C++ type.
Director General of NCAA, Capt. Mukhtar Usman who briefed newsmen at the NCAA annex at Murtala Mohammed International Airport affirmed the authority’s decision to put the operations of the company on hold.
He however explained that the suspension of operations of the company does not represent a vote of no confidence on the company but to ascertain the adequacy and propriety of the operating aircraft type.
“This is not new in the industry, it is one of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) all over the world,” Usman said.
He said the decision was without prejudice to the ongoing investigation of Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), adding that the NCAA would fully support the bureau in its investigation, stressing that it was only responsible for the Regulatory Authority to stem the rapidity of the occurrences and ensure that the airline carry out safe flight operations henceforth.
This is against the backdrop Bristow Helicopter’s crash on Wednesday which ditched inside the high sea around 10 a.m on Wednesday with 11 passengers including two crew members on board, coming only six months after the same Helicopter was involved in another crash.
The Helicopter was returning from an oil rig in the Niger Delta but developed technical fault and the pilot made an emergency landing on the Atlantic ocean. The eleven passengers and two crew members were rescued by National Emergency Management Authority, NEMA, officials who were already alerted by the pilot of the chopper and were on standby.
On August 12, 2015, a Bristow Helicopter, with registration number 5N – BDG – 760540, en route one of the nation’s oil rigs crashed at Oworonshoki in Lagos, killing six, while others were rescued alive. The helicopter had 12 passengers on board, including the crew.
Sikorsky S- 76 aircraft is an American medium – size commercial utility Helicopter manufactured by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. It features twin turbo shaft engines; four- blades, main and tail rotors with a retractable landing gear.
Also Read: Another Bristow Helicopter Crashes In Lagos