'Nigerian plane lost both engines before crash'
Abuja: A Nigerian plane that crashed in Lagos last month with 150 people on board, including two Indians, had lost both its engines in flight, a preliminary report of investigations has found.
The Nigerian government has released the results made available by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) on the possible causes of the Dana airline crash that killed all 153 passengers and 6 crew members.
An Indian from Kerala, Rijo Eldos, was aboard the aircraft which crashed into a building in a highly-populated area of Nigeria's commercial capital while the co-pilot of the plane was an American of Indian origin, Mahendra Singh Rathore.
The chief executive officer and commissioner of AIB, Captain Muhtar Usman, said the plane crashed, because of complete loss of power from its two engines while approaching the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos.
The preliminary report stated that the plane was on the fourth flight segment of the day, and had made consistent two round-trips between the commercial city of Lagos and the country's capital Abuja.
"The accident occurred during the return leg of the second trip. DAN 992 was on final approach for runway 18R at Lagos when the crew reported the total loss of power," the statement said.
The plane after taxing in Abuja was airborne after initial confirmation by the ground engineers that it had a fuel endurance of 3.5 hours.
The cockpit voice recorder (CVR), which captured 31 minutes of conversation between the two pilots, starts about 15:15 at which time the captain and first officer were discussing a non-normal condition regarding the correlation between the engine throttle setting and an engine power indication.
According to the statement, the flight crew did not voice concerns then that the condition would affect the continuation of the flight as they continued to monitor the condition.
They became increasingly concerned during the flight transition through the initial descent from cruise altitude at 15:22 and the subsequent approach phase.
It was at the crucial decision moment, during the period of 15:37 and 15:41, that the flight crew engaged in pre-landing tasks including deployment of the slats, and extension of the flaps and landing gear.
"At 15:41:16 the first officer (FO) inquired, 'Both engines coming up?' and the captain (Capt) replied 'negative'.”
The flight crew subsequently discussed and agreed to declare an emergency.
At 15:42:10, DANA 992 radioed an emergency distress call indicating "dual engine failure... Negative response from throttle". Seconds later, the flight crew lowered the flaps further and continued with the approach and discussed landing alternatively on runway 18L.
The Captain reported the runway in sight and instructed the FO to raise the flaps up and 4 seconds later to raise the landing gear.
At 15:43:27 hours, the Captain informed the FO "we just lost everything, we lost an engine. I lost both engines".
During the next 25 seconds until the end of the CVR recording, the flight crew was attempting to restart the engines.
The airplane crashed in a residential area about 5.8 miles north of Lagos.
According to Usman, the airplane struck an incomplete building, two trees and three buildings.
The wreckage was confined, with the separated tail section and engines located at the beginning of the debris field as AIB concluded their investigation.