- AIB, US NTSB, Others to Probe Delta Airlines Accident
The Accident Investigation Bureau, in conjunction with the United States National Transportation Safety Board and investigators from Delta Airlines, will soon commence investigations into the Tuesday night’s accident involving an aircraft belonging to the carrier, which left about five people injured.
Delta Airlines’ flight 55 from Lagos to Atlanta, United States, returned to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport on Tuesday night after an issue with one of the A330-200’s two engines.
The flight, which was said to have initially pushed back at 22:40hrs, made an air return and emergency landing at 23:16hrs when the pilot announced the evacuation of all the passengers on board within 90 seconds after contacting the control tower, as the left engine of the aircraft was reported to have caught fire mid-air.
According to the airline, the flight landed safely and passengers exited the aircraft on the runway via emergency slides, adding that airport fire authorities met the aircraft upon arrival.
The Commissioner, AIB, Akin Olateru, told journalists on Wednesday that the NTSB had appointed an official to join two others from the airline to carry out the investigation.
Olateru, however, lamented that the airline had yet to make a formal complaint to the AIB as of Wednesday afternoon.
He said, “When you have this kind of thing, we take possession of the aircraft and nobody goes near it. The aircraft is under safety investigation. That is what is required by law but until 3pm this afternoon, Delta has yet to make a formal report, we are expecting them.
“I was made to understand they have appointed two investigators to work with us and they should be arriving this afternoon. The US NTSB notified us that Delta has appointed two investigators to join us and the NTSB is nominating one person. Their representative too will be joining to assist us in this investigation.
“This is a serious incident and by law, we are investigating it. There is what they call country of occurrence and Nigeria is a country of occurrence of this incident. Yes, it is a US carrier, US operator, US registered aircraft but there are certain state protocols, which have to be respected that give right of investigation to the country of occurrence, except the country of occurrence decides to cede that investigation to the country of operator or any other country.”
According to the airline, the flight landed safely and customers exited the aircraft on the runway via emergency slides, while five passengers reported non-critical injuries as a result of the evacuation.
The airline noted that airport fire authorities met the aircraft upon arrival.
The Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Capt. Muhtar Usman, said the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s Annex 13 classified the accident as a “serious incident,” and the the responsibility to conduct the investigation should be with the country of occurrence.
“In this case, it happened in Nigeria, so the AIB will carry out the investigation and in line with ICAO, the country of manufacture and the country of registry and the country of operation; in these cases it happens to be the United States of America, which is also expected to be part of it,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Delta Airlines said one of its aircraft arrived the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos from the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to airlift its Nigerian passengers who were affected by the accident to the United States.
“The airline can also confirm that in the early hours of Thursday, 15th of February, 2018, another Delta Airlines aircraft will arrive the Lagos airport to airlift more Nigerians to the US same day,” the statement read in part.