The Accident and Investigation Bureau (AIB) has disclosed why the helicopter, which conveyed Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to Kabba in Kogi state in 2019 crashed.
It will be recalled that Osinbajo had last year while on an election campaign engagement in Kogi State, experienced a helicopter crash.
However, the Vice President and all crew members survived the accident unhurt when the helicopter conveying them crash-landed at Kabba, Kogi state on February 2, 2019.
The helicopter was an Agusta Westland (AW139) with registration marks 5N-CML, owned and operated by Caverton Helicopters Limited.
After several months of investigation, the AIB on Tuesday in a statement by the Commissioner of AIB, Akin Olateru said the accident was caused when the crew lost visual contact with the ground and external surroundings.
The AIB final report also faulted the crew for inappropriate landing techniques and limited planning before the commencement of the flight.
Olateru said: “At about 13:46hrs, the helicopter departed Abuja runway 22 for Kabba.
“Onboard were 12 persons including the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, his entourage, and three crew members (Pilot, Co-pilot, and an Engineer).
“The flight crew stated that they sighted the intended landing area as a result of the cloud of residual dust generated by the downwash of a Police helicopter.”
He continued: “After sighting the football field, the flight crew approached with the speed of 20ft to about a 100ft, 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 misjudgement 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.”
On other factors that may have led to the crash, he said: “Inappropriate landing technique used, non-adherence to company procedures for known or anticipated brownout condition during landing and lack of risk assessment, limited landing site preparation, and planning prior to commencement of the flight.”