The Accident and Investigation Bureau (AIB) after months of investigation has finally released a report stating the cause of the helicopter crash on February 2, 2019, while conveying Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, to Kabba, in Kogi State, prior to the 2019 election. The final report by the bureau revealed by the Commissioner of AIB, Akin Olateru in Abuja on Tuesday, indicated that the pilot lost visual contact with the ground and external surroundings.
According to the AIB Commissioner the flight, which took off from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja of Kogi, had onboard 12 passengers including the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, his entourage, and three crew members (Pilot, Co-pilot, and an Engineer).
He said the crew after sighting the intended landing area, a football field, "approached with the speed of 20 kt to about a 100 ft, 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 misjudgment 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 conditions during landing and lack of risk assessment, limited landing site preparation, and planning prior to commencement of the flight."
The Commission also advised the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority to conduct a Safety Management System audit of Caverton Helicopters.