Manuals Have Blank Pages, Pilots' Medical Histories Covered
The Nigerian government was lax in its enforcement of safety
regulations during a period which included three fatal airline
accidents, according to a report in the Associated Press.
Documents obtained from the FAA by the news service through a
Freedom of Information Act request indicate that the captain of one
of the airliners which went down ... a Bellview Airlines flight ...
had taken a 14-year hiatus from flying and had worked at a dairy.
He also had reportedly been shot in the head during a robbery
attempt during his break from flying, but there was no information
about medical treatment from the Nigerian government. An
investigation summary indicated that the flight data and cockpit
voice recorders were probably among the items stolen from the crash
site. They were not recovered.
Another accident involved a Sosoliso Airlines flight described
as "full of schoolchildren" which went down in 2005. That pilot was
reportedly "racing a thunderstorm" when the plane attempted an
instrument approach at Port Harcort. The pilot misjudged the
landing and landed on the grass beside the runway. The airplane
broke apart and caught fire.
In a third accident in 2006, in which an Aviation Development
Co. flight went down about a minute after takeoff, investigators
found that there were blank pages in a government-approved safety
manual where the pilots would have found adverse weather
information. That flight reportedly stalled after takeoff due to
incorrect actions taken by the pilot in that situation. The FAA
report obtained by the AP said that information could have been
critical to the pilots making a decision to continue with the
The Nigerian government says it did go through period in which
there it had a "woeful accident record," but Harold Demuren,
director general of Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Authority, says
the situation is much improved now. None of the three airlines
involved in the accidents cited are still in operation, and the FAA
recently certified that Nigerian airlines are safe enough to fly
directly to destinations in the U.S.