BREAKING NEWS:  NCAA suspends operations of Bristow’s SikorskyS-76C++aircraft series

Following controlled ditching of Bristow Helicopters’SikorskyS-76C++ aircraft on the coastal waters of Lagos, yesterday (Wednesday),the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has grounded the operations ofthat aircraft type.The Director General of NCAA, Capt. Muhtar Usman, whoannounced the decision at a press conference in Lagos, this afternoon, said thesuspension would enable the Authority carry out a full scale audit on thehelicopter company’s operations with particular emphasis on its SikorskyS-76C++ type.He said the regulatory authority “views with utmostseriousness the successive mishaps of Bristow Helicopters’ operating aircraftSikorskyS-76C++ on the coastal waters of Lagos.”“What this means is that yesterday’s incident isoccurring a little over six months after the preceding one.“Therefore, as a responsible Regulatory Authority, itis important to stem this rapidity of occurrence and ensure the airline carryout safe operations.“This suspension of operations for the impendingwholesale audit is not a vote of no confidence on the airline. It is toascertain the adequacy and propriety of the operating aircraft type. This isnot new in the industry; it is one of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)all over the world,” said Usman.Usman however, stated that the suspension of theaircraft type “is without prejudice to the investigations being conducted bythe Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB).” He added that it “will serve to assist in the entireprocess,” pledging that NCAA “will fully support AIB in the investigation.”It would be recalled that Bristow’s S-76C++ helicoptermarked 5N-BQJ, which departed ERHA Platform  en route Lagos ditched intothe Atlantic Ocean 95 nautical miles to destination.All the nine passengers and two crew members on boardwere rescued. 


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