Two months after the helicopter crash, which claimed the lives of the Togolese soccer delegation, government yesterday lifted the ban it imposed on helicopter services after that tragedy at the Lungi International Airport.
A press release to the effect stated that after the tragedy, government’s official investigation commenced on July 25th and the black box and cockpit voice recorder of the helicopter were sent to the Russian Federation for decoding and deciphering.
The final report would be submitted to the government after all the analyses and investigations would have been completed.
Apart from Dr John Tambi, a qualified aviation and transport expert working in close collaboration with his counterparts from Togo did the preliminary assessment.
Dr Tambi and Mr Attiso Komlan from Togo submitted separate reports to the government and jointly recommended that an international team of investigators be set up to conduct a full scale technical investigation of the accident.
The Sierra Leonean expert is now heading a team of international investigators comprising representatives from Togo government, the Russian Federation, the manufacturers of the MI-8 helicopter and the International Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
According to the release, two representatives from the Togolese government who are also members of the Permanent Independent Investigation Committee of Togo as well as one representative from Russian Federation and two representatives from the manufacturers of the MI-8 helicopter are already in Sierra Leone.
Meanwhile, a team of South African airworthiness inspectors was also in the country to inspect the safety and airworthiness of the helicopters of one of the operators that was audited by ICAO in February 2007.
The results of the inspection are satisfactory, the release emphasized, while government wants the public to note that only those operators who fully meet all the necessary requirements set by the Department of Civil Aviation of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, are allowed to operate helicopters on a commercial basis in the country.