Attahiru: AIB recovers black box of crashed plane, as Irabor orders probe to ascertain cause

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The Accident Investigation Bureau, Nigeria, on Saturday, said it has recovered the black box of a Nigerian Air Force Beechcraft 350 jet which crashed on Friday near the Kaduna International Airport.

AIB-N said its investigators will download and analyse vital information contained in the recorders to ascertain the cause of the crash that claimed the lives of 11 military personnel including the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Ibrahim Attahiru.

The position was contained in a statement titled, ‘AIB-N to conduct Kaduna crash investigation’ signed by AIB-N General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr. Tunji Oketunbi.

According to the International Civil Aviation Organisation, the United Nations specialised agency for global aviation regulation, black boxes, also known as flight recorders, are one of the most relied upon resources for the improvement of aviation safety. Audio recordings from cockpit voice recorders are valuable for post-accident safety analysis, especially to know what transpired in the aircraft (mostly pilots’ last conversation) prior to accidents.

Usually, the AIB-N, according to its mandate, only probes civil aviation accidents and incidents in Nigeria and not military accidents or incidents. But Oketunbi said NAF mandated AIB-N to lead the investigation into the crash.

“The Flight Data Recorder (FDR) and the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) from the accidented aircraft have been recovered and investigation has commenced.

“Investigators will download and analyse vital information contained in the recorders at the AIB-N’s world class Flight Safety Laboratory, in Abuja.

“The mandate given to AIB-N is based on the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two agencies on July 1, 2020 covering areas of mutual assistance,” the statement partly read.

The Defence Headquarters on Friday said bad weather was responsible for the crash of the NAF jet.

In a statement by DHQ Acting Director Defence Information, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, the DHQ assured that the sacrifices of departed heroes will not be in vain.

The statement was titled: ‘Armed Forces of Nigeria loses Chief of Army Staff and ten others in air mishap’.

It read: “It is with a heavy heart that the Armed Forces of Nigeria regrets to announce that this evening at about 1800 Hours, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru in company of his entourage, who were on official trip from Abuja to Kaduna, were involved in an air mishap.

“The unfortunate incident occurred after landing at the Kaduna International Airport due to inclement weather.”

The statement also said the Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, directed that an Accident Investigation Board be constituted to further probe the accident.

President Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) had on January 26, 2021 appointed Attahiru to succeed Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai as COAS.

No fewer than 20 military officers have lost their lives in the last three months in three crashes involving Nigerian Air Force jet planes.

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