Crashed Chopper Didn’t Have Sufficient Fuel, Says Accident Bureau

The chopper crashed into residential buildings in Opebi area of Lagos on August 28, 2020. According to the AIB report, the helicopter had no fuel left in the fuel tanks after the crash.

Though the report indicated that the chopper was fitted with a long range extender fuel system, it did not have capacity for fuel jettison. Experts say the chopper could have crashed due to inadequate fuel that could not get it two minutes away to the Lagos Airport.

According to the AIB, the chopper, which took off from Port Harcourt (Rivers State capital) at 9.20 a.m, was estimated to land in Lagos after two hours and 40 minutes, but crashed into residential building at 12.14 p.m.

The report reads: “The helicopter crashed into the roof of a building and a wall fence impacting two vehicles parked in the compound. The mast and main rotor blades were found intact during the post-crash inspection. Post-occurrence examination revealed that the fuel tanks were empty.”

It also reads: “The helicopter was not equipped with a flight data recorder or a cockpit voice recorder. Neither was required by the relevant aviation regulations but equipped with a Garmic GNC Global Positioning System.”

But Managing Director and Accountable Manager of Quorum Aviation Limited, Mr. Abiola Lawal, faulted the AIB findings that the company did not apply for exemption and extension for the pilot’s proficiency licence, which expired four days before the crash.

Lawal said the company wrote a letter to NCAA’s Director General on August 18, 2020, requesting the extension and exemption of the pilot, given the challenges posed by the COVID-19.

The letter reads: “Given the challenges of the COVID-19 in organising additional crew travel and training, we hereby wish to request for the exemption/extension of our pilots, Captain Chika Prudence Ernest, Licence ATPL (H) 6245, under the above exemption granted by the DG in the above reference circular.”


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