AFTER weeks of uncertainty over the cause of Dana Airline's plane which crashed at Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos in Western Nigeria, last June 3, the Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, has released a preliminary report on the accident that claimed over 153 lives.
The report indicates that the Cockpit Voice Recorder, CVR, analyzed showed that the captain and the first officer were in a discussion of a “non-normal condition regarding the correlation between the engine throttle setting and an engine power indication.”
According to the report, the duo, however, “did not voice concerns then that the condition would affect the continuation of the flight. The flight crew continued to monitor the condition and became increasingly concerned as the flight transition through the initial descent from cruise altitude at 1522 and the subsequent approach phase.”
The report signed by the AIB Commissioner, Captain Usman Muktar, said preliminary analysis of fuel samples from the refueling truck and the supply tank at Abuja airport were negative for contamination. Further testing of fuel samples is still ongoing in the United States.
The airplane was reported to be on the fourth flight segment of the day, consisting of two round-trips between Lagos and Abuja. The accident occurred during the return leg of the second trip. DAN 992 was on final approach for runway 18R at Lagos when the crew reported total loss of power.
According to the AIB boss, the flight arrived in Abuja as Dana Air flight 993 about 1350. “According to Dana Air ground personnel, routine turn-around activities occurred, including refueling of the airplane. DANA 992 initiated engine startup at 1436, taxied to the runway and was later airborne at 1458 after the flight had reported that it had a fuel endurance of 3.5 hours. Shortly after takeoff, DAN 992 reported 1545 as the estimated time of arrival at LOS as the flight climbed to a cruise altitude of 26,000 feet. DANA 0992 made contact with Lagos Area Control Center at 1518 hours”.
The cockpit voice recorder, CVR, he said, retained about 31 minutes of the flight and started about 1515 at which time the captain and first officer were in a discussion of a non-normal condition regarding the correlation between the engine throttle setting and an engine power indication.
“DANA 992 reported passing through 18,100 and 7,700 ft, respectively, at 1530 and 1540 hours. After receiving a series of heading and altitude assignments from the controller, DANA 992 was issued the final heading to intercept the final approach course for runway 18R,” the report said. It further states that during the period of 15.37 and 15:41, the flight crew engaged in pre-landing tasks including deployment of the slats, and extension of the flaps and landing gear. At 15:41:16, the first officer (FO) was said to have inquired that “both engines coming up?” and the captain (Capt) replied “negative.” The flight crew were said to have subsequently discussed and agreed to declare an emergency. At 1542:10, DANA 992 radioed an emergency distress call indicating “dual engine failure . . . negative response from throttle.”
At 1542:35, the flight crew lowered the flaps further and continued with the approach and discussed landing alternatively on runway 18L. At 1542:45, the Capt reported the runway in sight and instructed the FO to raise the flaps up and 4 seconds later to raise the landing gear.
At 1543:27 hours, the Capt informed the FO “we just lost everything, we lost an engine. I lost both engines”. During the next 25 seconds until the end of the CVR recording, the flight crew was attempting to restart the engines.
The airplane crashed in a residential area about 5.8 miles north of LOS. The wreckage was on approximately the extended centerline of runway 18R.
Muktar disclosed that the airplane was mostly consumed by post crash fire, with the tail section, both engines and portions of both wings, representing only about 15 per cent of the airplane were recovered from the accident site for further examination.
The two flight recorders, the CVR and the flight data recorder, FDR, he stated, were analysed at the facilities of the National Transportation Safety Board, NTSB, Washington, D.C., USA.
The report noted that the captain, aged 55, held an airline transport pilot licence with type ratings in the A-320, DC-9, FK-28 and SF-340. He had over 18,116 hours of total time, including 16,416 hours of pilot-in-command time, PIC.
The captain had 7,461 hours in the accident model airplane, all of which was as PIC. He joined Dana Air on March 14, 2012 and began flying line operations for the company in late May 2012 and had since accrued over 120 hours of flight time.
The airplane, according to the AIB boss, was manufactured in 1990 and, according to maintenance records, it had accumulated 60,846 hours (35,219 cycles) of total time.
The airplane had last undergone maintenance on June 1, 2012, and after a return to service flight on June 2, 2012, it was operated on four revenue flights (two round trips between LOS and Abuja) and another four flights on June 3, 2012”.
Meanwhile, the coroner court sitting at Alimoso District in Lagos and presided over by Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe has threatened to arrest members of the management of Dana Air if at the next adjourned date, they failed to appear in court over inquiry into the cause of the plane crash.
Komolafe issued the threat yesterday after listening to the argument of the parties and discovered that Dana Air was not represented.
According to him: “I do not think Dana Air is represented. If you are summoned and you are not here you can be arrested. A publication has been made in a daily. You should be aware''. ENDS