As part of ongoing investigation into the February 3, 2016 ditching of Bristow Helicopters’ Sikorsky 76C++ with registration number 5N-BQJ into the Atlantic Ocean, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has concluded arrangement to fly essential flight recorders of the Helicopter out for downloading while TRIM actuators will be sent to the manufacturers for investigative testing
Felix Abali Commissioner for AIB also informed that maintenance records including Technical Logs of the Helicopter will be examined.
He said Bristow Helicopter is cooperating with AIB in that regard.
Briefing the press on the update of the investigation, Abali said, that the aircraft with nine passengers and two crew members had departed ERHA Oil Platform en route Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
According to him, The crew declared May Day twice. The first was declared by the crew at the 78 Nautical Miles from Lagos complaining of instrument problems.
The aircraft descended from 3000 feet to 1500 feet. At this time the Flying Officer (FO) was the Pilot Flying (PF).
The Captain took over control expecting to stabilize the helicopter but the aircraft was not responding to control inputs.
She declared the 2nd May Day to the Radio Operator at the offshore platform, which was relayed to the ATC by two separate aircraft.
One aircraft was following the communication and relayed the ditching, which occurred at 10:20am at 29 Nautical Miles away from the platform.
Speaking further, the commissioner said all eleven occupants on board were rescued alive.
“The crew were met on arrival by AIB at the Eko Support Quay where they were transferred to Lagoon Hospital, Lagos Island.
Toxicological tests were administered on the crew, which proved negative of any substance abuse. One passenger was interviewed.
The aircraft was recovered from the accident site on February 5, ferried onshore and transferred on a trailer to a storage warehouse” he said.
Initial field investigation was carried out by AIB and vital components relevant to the investigation including FDR/CVR and the Cockpit Image Recorder were retrieved for further investigation, Abali informed.
He said,that the manufacturer’s representatives are still being expected as “we are carrying out the investigation along with them”.
The commissioner further added that more investigations will focus on the aircraft controls with avionics interface, while further interviews with the crews will be carried out, adding that maintenance personnel and others relevant to the investigation are ongoing.
He promised to offer additional updates when new factual information are available.