Aviation Minister, Professor Babalola Borishade, yesterday pointed a finger of guilt at the pilot of the crashed ADC Boeing 737 aircraft, saying information available to him indicated that the pilot did not heed the directive that all planes should tarry for just ten minutes to allow a stormy weather clear before taking-off.
The crash had claimed the lives of the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Maccido, the deputy governor of Sokoto state, Alhaji Garba Mohammed, Senator Sule Yari-Ghandi, Senator Muhammed Maccido (son of the Sultan), and 96 others.
An apparently distraught Borishade, who arrived the crash site moments before the Senate President, Senator Ken Nnamani, said the Federal Government would get a huge equipment that could stop all flights at such times, stressing, “We would need the backing of the National Assembly to enact a law that will guarantee that”.
He said that there were processes that would be followed in dealing with the incident, pointing out, “Once we find out exactly what has happened and the report of accident investigation is made known to relevant authorities, of course, appropriate actions would be taken”.
“It is not the wish of the airlines that they would lose an aircraft”, Borishade said, adding, “The pilot took the decision and there are standard procedures; they will pay insurance; they will do a whole lot of things.
“There are a lot of sanctions that are waiting down the line. But then, what sanctions can replace the lives of people that are dead? There are no sanctions that can replace them.
“But we will continue to condole the families of those people that died. It is only last week that we marked the one year anniversary of a disaster like this, which was also traceable to the same kind of intransigence and poor airmanship”, Borishade stated.
The Minister however threatened that, “We cannot continue to do everything in the area of provision of infrastructure and various regulations and some little persons on their own discretion will continue to embarrass the country and set misery to the lives of people’s family. It is unfortunate”.
An impeccable source at the airport authoritatively told journalists yesterday that the pilot was warned by the Control Tower to exercise patience because of the bad weather but he was quoted as saying ‘God is in control.’
One of the passengers, who travelled with the plane from Lagos to Abuja, said he was still waiting for his wife to pick him when he and others at the arrivals hall saw airport officials running helter-skelter and the Fire Fighting vehicles running to the scene of the accident.
When THISDAY visited ADC’s office at the airport, officials wore gloomy faces and refused to entertain any question, saying Lagos has the responsibility to give information on the crash.
IG Recovers Black Box
The Inspector General of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero, personally led the team that recovered the flight recorder box of the ill-fated ADC airliner.
The flight data recorder (FDR) is an object used to record specific aircraft performance parameters. A separate device is the cockpit voice recorder (CVR), although some recent types combine both in one unit. Popularly, though almost always falsely, known as the black box used for aircraft mishap analysis, the FDR is also used to study air safety issues, material degradation, and jet engine performance.
These International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) regulated "black box" devices are often used as an aid in investigating aircraft mishap, and these devices are typically one of the highest priorities for recovery after a crash, second only to bodies of victims. The device's shroud is usually painted bright orange and is generally located in the tail section of the aircraft.
Force Public Relations officer (FPRO), in an interview with THISDAY confirmed that, “He (IGP) personally directed the operation. The Inspector General of Police was in the forefront for the evacuation and recovery of the flight boxes. He was on ground coordinating the evacuation exercise. He personally recovered the flight recover.”