THE aviation industry, led this time by the Accident Investigation Bureau, Nigeria ( AIB-N) has commiserated with families of accident victims stressing that it is heart wrenching and agreed the best to do is to ensure such accidents never occur again.
This is just as the AIB-N is seeking the establishment of a Family Assistance Unit when the National Safety Investigation Board (NSIB) Bill is accented to, stressing that it will provide succour for victims and their families.
These were made known during the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and Accident Investigation Bureau, Nigeria ( AIB-N) Press Briefing on International Day Commemorating Air Crash Victims and their Families held at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja.
The AIB-N Commissioner, Engineer Akin Olateru who spoke at the solemn event explained that from the year 1969 to 2022, a total of 2,038 (1996 on board passengers and 42 on ground) lives have been lost to air crashes.
He further said if the NSIB Bill is accented to it would grant families of victims of crash some succour with emergency response to the accident; timely information about the occurrence; coordination of travel to and lodging at a family assistance center, as well as assistance to those not travelling.
Other areas the Bill would cover when accented to includes coordination of a visit to the accident site (where access is possible), information about the location and status of the victims, and the recovery, identification and disposition of remains; information regarding the recovery, management and return of personal effects; social, emotional and psychological support; among others.
Also speaking, the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority ( NCAA) Captain Musa Nuhu said it was a terrible thing to experience a crash concurring with the AIB commissioner but stressed that one way of dealing is by ensuring crashes no longer happen.
He said,”According to AIB statistics Nigeria has lost over 2000 lives to plane crashes since 1969, this is one person too much. We do not want to lose a single person to air crashes. Unfortunately, air crashes do happen and it is our duty and responsibility to do whatever we can do to take care of the victims’ families and today is one such day.
“We are honouring their virtues as we can never replace those that have gone. We have it as a responsibility to ensure we do not lose one single person to air crash going forward by ensuring safety.”
Speaking on behalf of the airlines, Captain Chimara Imediegwu, Director Flight Operations of United Nigeria Airways said the day was set aside by ICAO as a reminder to ensure people do not forget and do better in ensuring the avoidance of accidents.
He said,” While that is on, we need to appreciate that the family is aggrieved, the nation’s aggrieved due to these accidents. So we are kind of reminding ourselves that these pains last and the only thing we can do is ensure the avoidance of accidents by training, every other measure. Today is chosen as a day that we not only remember but think along lines that will improve safety level. And the AIB today not only the investigate but can analyse to ensure the avoidance of accidents
Representatives of victims who lost a sister to the ADC Crash of 2005, Erik Briggs commended the ICAO initiative also said things need to be put in place to ensure communication with victims’ families and not leave them in a quandary.
“This initiative is indeed welcoming and I believe anyone who has lost someone would be happy to know that the airlines operators and regulators have a heart and also question how they are living.”
On the need for information he said, “My first call is for timely information, there is a bit it confusion when these things happen so timely information. When that happened it was so unsettling as there was no info. In fact people with health issues could have it degraded so I feel that timeless information is key, and I think that is being addressed now.