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...Escavation of Crashed Aircraft Begins Today

Posted by By Ndubuisi Francis on 2005/10/31 | Views: 2992 |

...Escavation of Crashed Aircraft Begins Today

More than a week after the tragic Bellview crash in Lisa Village, Ifo local government area of Ogun State which claimed 117 lives, all seems set for the escavation of the remains of the B737 airplane.

More than a week after the tragic Bellview crash in Lisa Village, Ifo local government area of Ogun State which claimed 117 lives, all seems set for the escavation of the remains of the B737 airplane.

The relevant agencies, including the Accident Investigation and Prevention Bureau (AIP), a directorate of the Ministry of Aviation; accident investigators from the United States National Transport Safety Board (NSTB), Boeing officials and insurers of the airplane, Llyods of London, among others, have already visited the site to assess the situation.

THISDAY gathered that the relevant bodies used the visit, among others, to know exactly the type of equipment required to begin the escavation. It is believed that construction giant, Julius Berger will provide the heavy equipment needed for the removal of the remnant of the crashed plane.

Meanwhile, Bellview Airl-ines has already announced that it will this week begin the process of initial disbursement of insurance compensation as the collation of personal data of the next of kin of victims of the crash has been smooth.

The airline's management said at the weekend that many bereaved families have filled forms and that because of "the very high level of co-operation by the family members, we are sure we can begin the process of initial disbursement of insurance compensation next week (this week)".

While expressing appreciation for the co-operation it has received from the families of the victims, the airline enjoined them to "continue in their attitude of patience and understanding". It also urged relatives of other victims who have not collected the compesation forms to do so at the airline's head office "where all required support is being provided to enhance the collation process."

Bellview said the compensation is an interim arrangement "to cushion the financial strain that an accident such as this may cause to the families of the victims concerned; and our insurers have shown great understanding to make this possible."

In related developments, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) and aviation industry player, Mr. Nick Fadugba have called for caution on comments concerning the possible cause of the crash.

NCAA stated that contrary to some comments, the crashed airplane was not old since it was manufactured in 1981.

The Authority stated that the aircraft underwent a C-check only in February this year and was an advanced type of B737-200 series which most popular carriers in the world use for their short-haul operations.
On search and rescue, NCAA stated that the Nigerian Airspace Managment Agency (NAMA) and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) are saddled with the responsibility.

Also speaking with aviation correspondents on the crash, Fadugba who is the Publisher of African Aviation magazine based in London said he was immensely concerned about "wild rumours, speculation and conjecture regarding the cause of the Bellview Airlines accident".

He said such rumours range from technical fault with the aircraft to its age and to possible sabotage as well as inclement weather.

"I would like to call upon the Nigerian public, members of the House of Assembly and the national media to please exercise patience and restraint until the official report into the actual cause of the accident is prepared by the Nigerian and international air accident experts who have commenced work. We call upon the Federal Ministry of Aviation to ensure that this official report is made public.

"Contrary to speculations in some quarters following the accident, it needs to be pointed out that Bellview Airlines is one of the leading private carriers in Nigeria and on the African continent. It has one of the largest fleets and largest networks operated by a private airline in Africa. In addition, it has the distinction of being the only member of the International Air Tansport association (IATA) Clearing House and the only airline in Nigeria certified by the European Air safety Agency (EASA).

"The woefully slow response to the accident-especially the search and rescue operation highlights the glaring inadequacies still present in the Nigerian aviation industry. I would like to call upon the Federal Government of Nigeria, the National Assembly, the Federal Ministry of Aviation and the entire Nigerian aviation industry to draw urgent lessons from this tragic event and to implement widespread reforms in the Nigerian aviation industry which will signficantly enhance the safety and security of air transport in Nigeria", he said.

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