Federal Government Thursday released the preliminary report of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) into the possible cause of the Dana airline which crashed last month in the Iju Shaga area of Lagos State, killing all 153 passengers and six crew members on board.
The Chief Executive Officer and Commissioner of AIB, Capt. Muhtar Usman, under whose auspices the investigation was conducted, said the plane crashed because of complete loss of power from its two engine, while approaching the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.
In a preliminary report signed by Usman and made available by Mr. Joe Obi, Personal Assistant to the Minister of Aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah, the CEO stated that the plane that crashed was on the fourth flight segment of the day, adding that it made consistent two round-trips between Lagos and Abuja.
The statement said: “The accident occurred during the return leg of the second trip. DANA 992 was on final approach for runway 18R at Lagos when the crew reported the total loss of power.”
According to the report, the plane after taxing in Abuja was airborne at 14:58 after initial confirmation by the ground engineers that it had a fuel endurance of 3.5 hours.
The report added: “The cockpit voice recorder (CVR), retained about 31 minutes of the flight and starts about 15:15, 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.”
The flight crew, the report added, did not voice concerns then that the condition would affect the continuation of the flight as they continued to monitor the situation “but they became increasingly concerned with the flight’s transition through the initial descent from a cruise altitude at 15:22 and the subsequent approach phase.”
It was at the crucial decision moment, during the period of 15:37 and 15:41, that the flight crew engaged in pre-landing tasks including deployment of the slats, and extension of the flaps and landing gear, indicated the AIB report.
“At 15:41:16 the first officer (FO) inquired, ‘Both engines coming up?’ and the captain replied ‘negative.’ The flight crew subsequently discussed and agreed to declare an emergency.
“At 15:42:10, DANA 992 radioed an emergency distress call indicating ‘dual engine failure . . . negative response from throttle.’”
At 15:42:35, the flight crew lowered the flaps further and continued with the approach and discussed landing alternatively on runway 18L. At 15:42:45, the captain reported the runway in sight and instructed the FO to raise the flaps up and 4 seconds later to raise the landing gear.
“At 15:43:27, the captain 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.
“Subsequently, airplane crashed in a residential area about 5.8 miles north of Lagos.”
Usman said the airplane struck an uncompleted building, two trees and three complete buildings. The wreckage was confined with the separated tail section and engines located at the beginning of the debris field as AIB concluded their investigation.
The commissioner stressed that the sole objective of any investigation of an accident or incident is for the prevention of accidents and incidents, stressing that it is not for the purpose of apportioning blame or liability.
He said: “AIB with the participation of the parties, including the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), will seek to identify any area of safety concerns during the investigation and implement the appropriate actions for correction or improvement.”