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Opinion

Lagos Plane crash: NCAA keeps mum as NSIB continues inquest

FOLLOWING the crash of the J430 aircraft type, operated by Air First Hospital and Tour, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, yesterday, remained silent over the development, just as the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau, NSIB, said it was investigating the circumstances that led to the accident and would make public its outcome.

The ill-fated plane, with piston engine, had only the pilot and a passenger on board.

The light single-engine aircraft, turbo 5N-CCQ, had crashed on the popular Oba Akran road, in the Ikeja Local Government Area of Lagos State, and burst into flames.

Though no life was lost, motorists and commuters scampered for safety as a result of the incident which resulted in traffic gridlock at the scene and adjourning roads.

Meanwhile, angry reactions, yesterday, generated the accident as stakeholders insisted that it was a criminal offence to test-run a new aircraft over an urban populated area.

NCAA keeps mum

Giving an update on the accident, the spokesperson of the NCAA, Mr Sam Adurogboye, in a chat with Vanguard, urged Nigerians to wait for the outcome of the investigation.

Adurogboye said: “Nigerians have to wait for the outcome of the investigation from NSIB. Once an investigation is ongoing, every other comment remains speculative, until a report is brought forth by the NSIB.

“Also, in aviation, testing of flight has processes. There is a stage when you are accompanied and a stage when you can go alone.

“But I cannot comment on the development until a report is brought forward. Inside the report, sanctions, and other punitive measures will be addressed.”

Experts condemn accident

While reacting to the incident, a former commandant at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, Group Capt. John Ojikutu said: “Any aircraft including a drone that takes off up into the sky surely must return to the airport but not on the road.

“Secondly, testing a new aircraft over an urban populated area should be seen as a deliberate criminal act.

“Why not conduct the test in remote areas where people’s lives are not threatened? The NCAA has to find a place in the Nig CARs for this act as I have pleaded for a well-defined regulation for fuel testing before discharging into the airport fuel margarine.”

Explaining the circumstances surrounding the incident, the President of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of Nigeria, AOPAN, Dr Alex Nwuba, said: “The light aircraft is a sample of new aircraft that was being manufactured in Nigeria. The reason for the crash is for NSIB to declare.

“The approach angle or final was quite unusual and indicates either an attempt to reach the airport quickly or the tower wanted a short final during a busy period, it, however, looked very tight.

“Fortunately, the pilot made it out alive; therefore, he was in control of the aircraft until things got out of hand. Being in control means there was a manageable speed on the descent.

“Even if testing was done on the moon, sea, or mountain, the aircraft must return to the airport. It was returning.”

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