AIB impounds Delta aircraft over failure to report fire incident

  • Bars crew from leaving country until probe begins
  • Captain declared Mayday, says NCAA DG

The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has barred engineers from going near Delta Air that did emergency landing when the crew noticed fire in the left engine of the A330-200 airplane.

Also, Commissioner, AIB, Akin Olateru has equally directed that the crew of the aborted flight should not leave the country until they are interviewed to know exactly what happened to the airplane with registration N858NW.

He said when there are situations like that; the accident investigative body normally takes possession of the aircraft and ensures nobody goes near it.

Olateru said, “The aircraft is under safety investigation. That is what is required by law but until they 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 (yesterday).

Olateru, while briefing the media said Delta Air has flouted regulations by not notifying the agency by 3pm yesterday being the country of occurrence in line with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Annex 13.

His words, “I have insisted that we must interview the crew. We need to know what happened. I got a call too that they want to travel and told them they cannot leave. We have a responsibility. They are still in Nigeria. I have made it clear to them; they cannot go until we take their statement. We have an obligation under the law and we are here to defend that obligation. What Delta has done is to satisfy their own regulations and laws by reporting to the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) failing to respect our own law and regulations”.

“This afternoon, we got information that their engineers want to work on the aeroplane and we made it clear to them it is not possible. We told them that nobody should go near the aircraft. The best we can do is to safeguard it. Security people are guarding the aircraft”, he added.

Explaining what happened to the aircraft, the AIB chief stated that Tuesday night at about 21.52UTC, Delta Airline Flight DL 55, an A330-200 departed Lagos with 219 passengers on board.

He noted that the aircraft reported fire warning on-board left engine and made emergency landing at 21.59pm local time, stressing passengers were evacuated and fire put under control. He disclosed that some passengers sustained minor injuries during the evacuation.

 

“Everything we do here is in accordance with ICAO Annexe 13. Unfortunately, up until 3pm, this afternoon, Delta as an airline has refused to notify AIB in accordance with the law of our country. But they notified the US NTSB but they refused to inform us as at 3pm today”.

“There is still no notification from Delta as to this serious incident. We have an obligation to notify ICAO on this serious incident but unfortunately, we cannot fulfil that obligation because we are still waiting for Delta to give us information as to this serious incident”.

“Delta is one of the world’s biggest airlines in the world. It is very disappointing that that they do not respect laws of the land. It is totally unacceptable, and we condemn in its totality and I believe the way I see it we are being undermined which is not acceptable”, he added.

Delta Air plane made an emergency landing at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos after the left engine of the aircraft caught fire mid-air in-flight this morning.

 The pilot of the Delta Air flight DL055 (ATL ) ETG who noticed that the left engine had caught fire immediately contacted the control tower at the Lagos Airport to prepare for emergency landing.

 Emergency aviation officials were immediately contacted and fire fighters placed on standby. After landing successfully, all the passengers aboard were quickly evacuated via the emergency sliding door within few minutes.

 Also, the remaining casualty – free passengers were taken to a hotel after the flight was announced cancelled and rescheduled for a date yet to be specified and communicated.

 Although no deaths were recorded, five passengers were injured and were said to have been taken to Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH, Ikeja, Air Force Base Clinic and Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, Medical Centre for speedy medical attention.

 The incident led to a closure of the runway, thereby preventing KLM, Lufthansa and Air France already positioned for take-off from departing.

 Speaking to Woleshadarenews, Director-General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Usman Muhtar described is as, “serious incident”, saying he had been at the place where the aircraft was parked, assuring that the AIB would carry out investigation on the cause of fire in one of the aircraft’s engines.

 Muhtar disclosed that the captain of the aircraft declared MayDay, a sign for a possible crash in an event where all preventive measures no longer work.

 Mayday is the word used around the world to make a distress call via radio communications. Mayday signals a life-threatening emergency, usually on a ship or a plane, although it may be used in a variety of other situations. Procedure calls for the mayday distress signal to be said three times in a row.

Muhtar said, “In the case of fire, well, basically most convention engines are always on fire. We only call fire when it goes out of control, when we can no longer control it and provisions are made so that when you have such indications and you can extinguish the fire because we have firefighting facilities on board which are either through a button or switch to be able to discharge or extinguish the fire”.

“First of all, I would like to say that aviation is global, it is international in nature, it can happen anywhere, if people have been following case of incidents and accidents, you will know that accidents, incidents do not segregate, they can happen anywhere but our job is to make sure they do not happen and even when they happen, we learn lesions from them to ensure similar accidents do not happen”, he added.

Wole Shadare

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