The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has suspended the activities of Bristow Helicopters Limited’s Sikorsky S-76C aircrafts. Director-General of the NCAA, Muhtar Usman, made the temporary ban known to journalists on Thursday. He said the action was in tune with international standard and was to aid an easier investigation by the Accident Investigation Bureau. He said the agency’s concern with the successive accidents involving the choppers of the Sikorsky range made the suspension necessary. Usman said a Sikorsky S-76C helicopter belonging to the same company had crashed on 12 August, 2015 in Oworonshoki, Lagos saying it had just about a six-month space from Wednesday’s occurrence.
“The suspension is not to pass a vote of no confidence in the helicopter services company. It is to ascertain the adequacy and propriety of the operating aircraft type. This is not new in the industry; it is one of the standard operating procedures all over the world,” he said.
The aircraft, according to Usman, is an American medium-sized commercial utility helicopter manufactured by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. It features twin turbo shaft engines, four-bladed main and tail rotors, and a retractable landing gear.
Bristow has promised it would cooperate with the NCAA and the AIB in their investigations of the crash. The company said a telephone hotline for family members of those on board the flight had been established.