Felix Abali, commissioner, AIB, stated this while briefing newsmen on the incident in Lagos at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.
Abali, who explained the crew declared ‘may day’, two times before ditching the aircraft, noted that, further investigation will focus on the aircraft controls with avionics interface.
He added that further interviews with the crew, maintenance personnel and others relevant to the investigation are ongoing.
“Maintenance records including Technical Logs will be examined. Bristow Helicopter is cooperating with AIB in this regard. Essential flight recorders will be flown out for downloading while TRIM actuators will be sent to the manufacturers for investigative testing. Additional updates will be provided as new factual information are available”, he said.
Speaking further, he said the aircraft with nine passengers and two crew members had departed ERHA Oil Platform en route Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
“The crew declared May Day twice. The first was declared by the crew at the 78 Nautical Miles from Lagos complaining of instrument problems. The aircraft descended from 3000 feet to 1500 feet. At this time the Flying Officer (FO) was the Pilot Flying (PF).
“The Captain took over control expecting to stabilize the helicopter but the aircraft was not responding to control inputs. She declared the 2nd May Day to the Radio Operator at the offshore platform, which was relayed to the ATC by two separate aircraft. One aircraft was following the communication and relayed the ditching, which occurred at 10:20am at 29 Nautical Miles away from the platform.
All the eleven souls on board were rescued alive.
“Toxicological tests were administered on the crew, which proved negative of any substance abuse. One passenger was interviewed. Initial field investigation was carried out by AIB and vital components relevant to the investigation including FDR/CVR and the Cockpit Image Recorder were retrieved for further investigation”, he added.
Abali revealed further that manufacturer’s representatives are still being expected AIB carrying out the investigation along with them.
On February 3, 2016, Bristow Helicopters’ Sikorsky 76C++ with registration number 5N-BQJ, was ditched into the Atlantic Ocean after it developed fault but all souls were rescued alive.