Following the recent Bristow Helicopter accident where the chopper was ditched on the high sea in Lagos, the Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB has concluded arrangements to fly out essential flight recorders for downloading. The TRIM actuators will also be sent to the manufacturers for investigative testing.
This was disclosed by AIB yesterday during the release of the update on the recent Bristow Helicopter accident where the chopper was ditched on the high sea.
A statement by the commissioner of AIB, Dr. Felix Abali, explained that the update is part of the ongoing investigation into the February 3, 2016 ditching of Bristow Helicopters’ Sikorsky 76C++ with registration number 5N-BQJ into the Atlantic Ocean.
He stated that the aircraft with nine passengers and two crew members had departed ERHA Oil Platform en route Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on the day of the accident.
“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 10:20 am at 29 Nautical Miles away from the platform. All the eleven souls 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,” he explained.
According to Abali in the statement, the aircraft was recovered from the accident site on February 5, ferried onshore and transferred on a trailer to a storage warehouse while initial field investigation was carried out by AIB and vital components relevant to the investigation including Flight Data Recorder, FDR/CVR and the Cockpit Image Recorder were retrieved for further investigation.
He disclosed that the manufacturer’s representatives were still being expected so as to carry out the investigation along with them.
Abali noted that the investigation will focus on the aircraft controls with avionics interface, while further interviews with the crew, maintenance personnel and others relevant to the investigation are ongoing.
He said maintenance records including Technical Logs will be examined as Bristow Helicopter is cooperating with AIB in this regard.
“Essential flight recorders will be flown out for downloading, TRIM actuators will be sent to the manufacturers for investigative testing, while additional updates will be provided as new factual information are available,” he said.

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