The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigating the helicopter crash which claimed lives of Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings Plc, Herbert Wigwe, his wife, son as well as other crew members onboard, said the full investigative report and investigation will last 12 to 24 months before a final report is published.
Penpushing reports that Michael Graham a board member with the board made this known at a press briefing on Saturday evening in Barstow, California, while providing details of the crash alongside the investigator in charge of the incident, Aaron Sours,
The board member confirmed that the two crew members and four passengers on board the aircraft were fatally injured and that there was a report of a fire outbreak when the helicopter crashed as gathered from witnesses.
“As far as we know, from what was reported from witnesses that there was fire when the aircraft did contact the terrain. We currently have a meteorologist working on our team and we were working to analyse and get the exact weather conditions at that time’, he said.
‘Of course, that’s out in the middle of the desert so we’ll have to find the closest reporting stations nearby to be able to give any accurate report. Our team methodically and systematically reviews all evidence and considers all potential factors to determine the probable cause’, he added.
Penpushing further reports that Graham explained that they have a representative from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) Disaster Assistance division at the scene and that she is currently working with the family members of those who lost their lives.
The board member disclosed that the ill-fated plane was rented from a chartered flight company based out of Burbank, and on the weather conditions of the crash scene, he said it was reported by witnesses that there was rain with some wintry mix, adding that the board was working at the incident scene to gather evidence.
Penpushing also reports that the official said the preliminary investigation is the beginning of a long process and they will not jump to any conclusions, noting that a preliminary report will be available soon.
The official explained that additional details about the accident included the crew which consisted of a pilot in command and a safety pilot, adding that the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said the accident flight was operated by Orbic Air LLC as a part 135 Charter flight.
‘The investigators said witness reports of the weather conditions at the time of the accident suggest rain and a wintry mix. The helicopter was not equipped with a cockpit voice recorder or a flight data recorder. This helicopter was not required to be equipped with those types of recording devices,” he said.
Penpushing reports that Graham said their investigators will be examining airworthiness to include maintenance and structures of the helicopter, operations, meteorology and air traffic control, while he listed parties to the ongoing investigation to include the FAA and Orbic Air LLC, assuring that as the investigation continues, other parties could be named.
The board member disclosed that the French aviation accident investigation agency will serve as an accredited representative of the investigation because France is a state of the manufacturer of the Airbus helicopter and the Turbomeca engine.
Penpushing further reports that he said the planned activities for the investigation will include travelling to the accident site to conduct the initial on-the-scene documentation, including aerial mapping of the wreckage with a drone and site measurements, while he equally urged eyewitnesses at the crash site to provide any further information they may have such as photos to support the bureau’s investigation.
‘Both Airbus helicopters and Turbomeca engines will serve as technical advisors to the investigation. We will provide support as well as investigative updates as they become available in the coming days. Graham said.
Penpushing also reports that it is recalled the helicopter crash near the California-Nevada border which claimed Wigwe, his wife and his son, as well as three other people among them said to be Abimbola Ogunbanjo, former group chairman of Nigerian Exchange Group Plc (NGX Group),
Meanwhile, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an independent agency charged by the United States of America (USA) Congress to investigate every civil aviation accident and significant accidents in the other modes of transportation across the United States of America (USA).
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