Delta aircraft emergency landing: ‘Serious incident’ to be investigated by AIB – NCAA DG

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Capt. Muhtar Usman, Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has described Tuesday’s emergency landing by an Atlanta-bound Delta Air Lines flight at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos as “a serious incident”.
Muhtar told newsmen on Wednesday in Lagos that the Accident Investigation Bureau would investigate the incident in line with the Act setting up the bureau.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Delta Air Lines Flight 55 from Lagos to Atlanta, which took off around 10:50 pm on Tuesday, made an air return less than an hour later due to an engine issue.
The Pilot in Command announced the evacuation of all the passengers on board within 90 seconds, after contacting the Control Towers because the left engine of the aircraft was said to have caught fire midair in-flight.
The United States carrier, in a statement signed by its media consultant, Tope Awe, confirmed that all passengers were evacuated successfully with five persons sustaining minor injuries.
Muhtar said both NCAA and AIB officials had paid an inspection visit to the site in line with their statutory responsibilities.
He said: “From what we saw, it is a serious incident, and by the International Civil Aviation Organisation standards and also in line with the Act that set up the AIB, they will be investigating the incident.
“This is to determine the cause and also make safety recommendations to prevent such incidents from happening again.
“This being classified as serious incident, the onus or the responsibility to do the investigation rest with the country of occurrence, in this case it happened in Nigeria. So, AIB Nigeria will carry out the investigation.”
According to him, in line with the ICAO provisions, the country of manufacturer and the country of registry, and the country of operation, in this case this happens to be the United States of America, are also expected to be part of it.
Usman said the NCAA could not speculate on why the engine caught fire , stressing that details of the cause and recommendations would come from the AIB.
He explained: “We don’t speculate on causes of accidents. It is only an investigation that would be able to determine what could have caused the fire, whether it was an actual fire or maybe it was just an indication.
“This is because there are sensors that are supposed to sense fire and alert the crew for their necessary action, so we will not be able to know what could have caused the fire.”
The NCAA DG said the regulatory authority would continue to work assiduously to ensure safety of the Nigerian airspace.
He said: “Last year, there was hardly any major commercial accident; of course in Nigeria, we have not had any in the last few years.
“Unfortunately, we just had one outside Nigeria, the one that happened in Russia, so it is not limited to a country in the real sense of it.
“Of course, the level of activities and also the level of our safety oversight in the country may be an indicator.
“We have been lucky, and with a lot of hard work we have put also in the last two years in Nigeria, it has not happened, and we hope and we continue to work towards maintaining that level of zero accident.”


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