General Azazi and Yakowa had on December 15, 2012, boarded the unfortunate helicopter on their way to Port Harcourt from Bayelsa where they had gone to attend the final funeral rites of the father of a special adviser to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Dr Oronto Douglas, when the tragedy occurred.
The Accident Investigation Board (AIB) that was constituted by the Nigerian Air Force at the instance of the Nigerian Navy to ascertain the cause of the fatal crash involving the Nigerian Navy’s Agusta NN07 helicopter has submitted an interim report to the Naval Headquarters.
A statement released by the Nigerian Navy and signed by its spokesman, Commodore Kabiru Aliyu said that the cause of the disaster has been traced to either human error or material failure, but it categorically ruled out sabotage as was speculated in some quarters. According to the Navy spokesperson, “The Investigation which was conducted by aviation experts in collaboration with the manufacturers – Agusta Westland — has stated that the cause of the crash could either be human error or material failure or a combination of both.
“However, to determine the actual cause of the crash, there would be the need to tear down the engine of the helicopter in order to carry out detailed forensic analysis. This aspect of the investigation will be carried out by Turbomeca, the manufacturers of the engine.
“It is important to emphasize that an independent police report has equally ruled out sabotage as a possible cause of the crash. Further information on the investigation would be made public when available,” the statement added.