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THE Nigerian Society of Engineers (Aeronautical division) has cautioned against sentimental reactions of people during crashes, saying such reactions often
force government to take hasty decisions capable of derailing the sole focus of accident investigations.
The engineers, while sympathising with the families of those who died on the June 3rd, 2012 DANA Air plane crash, however urged Nigerians to learn to be patient in times of emergencies and at the same time allow government agencies saddled with the responsibilities of emergency management and accident investigation to do their work.
Speaking on behalf of the aeronautic engineers, its chairman, Mr Abdul Y.S.O, while saying accident occurs when hazard escape detection during the formative cum preventive stage, he however declared that “thorough accident investigation may identify previously overlooked physical, environmental, administrative, or process hazards, the need for safety training and unsafe work practices.”
“The primary focus of accident investigation is to determine the fact surrounding the accident and the lessons to be learnt to prevent further similar occurrence.
In accordance with ICAO annex 13, the sole objective of investigation of an accident is to learn from the mistake(s) of the past and prevent future occurrence. It is not the purpose of accident Investigation to apportion blame or liability.
“Obviously, the immediate and sentimental reactions of people when there is an accident in most cases cause the government to take hasty decisions that can make the sole focus of accident investigation to be shifted. It is pertinent to note that the one of such hasty decisions is to apportion blame and ask for the removal of the government regulators even before the commencement of the investigation.
“It is important to emphasise that we should learn to be patient to allow government agencies which are established by act of parliament and are saddled with the responsibilities of emergency management and accident investigation to perform their duties rather than the ad hoc committees hastily constituted and whose functions are more or less a duplication of the existing agencies.”
According to Abdul, in the event of an accident occurring, ”the first step is for the Law enforcement agencies to seal off the site of the accident and allow Nigerian Emergency Management Agency, Accident Investigation Bureau and other allied aviation agencies saddled with the responsibility of ensuring air safety to do the needful rather than allowing for the surge of people to the scene of accident with the adverse effect of hampering the effective and efficient emergency management work.
“In emergency situation, every second counts. It is therefore important for government to empower all the respective agencies for emergency management in the country to live up to expectations when the need arises. In a situation where those agencies become handicapped and practically incapable of the execution of rescue operation of the victims is very worrisome. This is perhaps the case of DANA crash in Lagos, ADC crash in Abuja and Sosoliso crash in Port Harcourt to mention just but a few.”