The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) Nigeria has intensified surveillance capacity with the acquisition of drone technology for use in accident probes.
The Chief Executive Officer of AIB, Akin Olateru, told journalists recently in Lagos that investigators had already been trained as part of the approval processes for the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV).
Olateru noted that the drone technology was not deployed during the recent helicopter crash in Lagos because its operation was yet to be approved by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
He said they were putting papers together towards the submission of application at NCAA.
“Be mindful, this set of AIB team will probably be the first the NCAA will be licensing. So, it’s a new thing to the NCAA, but I believe we will get there. That was why we used the NCAA approved training company to deliver that training for the investigators.
“Part of the requirements is to train our people on how to handle the drones we have satisfied. The operator has to be licensed by NCAA. So, we are in the process of normalising our documentations. You will agree with me that any company or agency of government must constantly review its processes to enhance service delivery. That is one thing we do here. We see how we do things and how we can make them better or simplify the processes to get a better result for better performance,” Olateru said.
He added that non-deployment of drones at the last incident did not affect their level of material gathering.
“The fact is that drone is extremely essential when you have a wider area of the crash; when you have a crash spanning about half a mile or a mile for instance. It takes time to walk through that to gather information or evidence, but for this one (Quorum Aviation’s helicopter crash), we were fortunate the crash site was a bit contained. It was not over a large expanse of land. So, that is why we didn’t really miss it, but we hope to fast-track our application with NCAA.
“But, on that day, LASEMA used their drones to take some pictures, but for us in AIB, we did very well. We have gathered the right information. Deployment of drones will happen once we have necessary permits and licensing from NCAA.”