Following Saturday’s crash involving a Starbow plane at the Kotoka International Airport, the Bureau of Public Safety has taken a swipe at the Ministry of Transport and the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), saying the two bodies have over the years failed to institute an independent probe into similar incidents in the past.
The crash, which resulted in five minor injuries, occurred after the aircraft skidded off the runway during its take-off run.
Some other incidents involving Starbow airlines have been recorded in previous years.
In 2015, passengers on board a Tamale-bound Starbow airline, had the scare of their lives when the aircraft, BAE with registration 9GSBB, crash landed in Tamale although no injuries were recorded.
In 2014, two people were injured after a Takoradi bound Starbow aircraft made an emergency landing.
The Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and other stakeholders in the aviation sector, have often been criticized for not cracking the whip enough on these airline operators, hence putting the lives of passengers at risk.
BPS in a statement sided with this position, saying the Transport Ministry and GCAA’s have since 2012, refused to heed the Bureau’s “good advice to set up an independent investigation” into these incidents.
“Starbow Runway Overrun is bringing our country yet closer to witnessing a national disaster. The ICAO Safety Reports for 2015 and 2016 points in that direction for the Regional Aviation Safety Group – Africa and the Indian Ocean (RASG- AFI) comprising 48 countries including Ghana.”
The BPS believes allowing “GCAA to lead and continually investigate such incidents”, without setting up an independent investigation body can only “save jobs at the authority not lives of passengers.”
“Perhaps, it’s time for the BPS to explore what roles the International Civil Aviation Organization ( ICAO ) and the Federal Aviation Administration ((FAA) can play in getting the State of Ghana to establish such a body as opposed to adhoc investigation committees whose findings and recommendations cannot be assured.”
Starbow halts operations after crash at Kotoka
Starbow Airlines has halted operations following the crash. A statement from Starbow said it had “suspended its operations with immediate effect.”
It added that “guests with future reservations are invited to contact the airline at 024 500 0000 to make alternative travel arrangements.”
There has been a suggestion of negligence on the part of the aircraft’s pilot by William Owuraku Aidoo, a Deputy Minister of Energy who was on board the Starbow plane when it crashed.
He narrated that, the pilot tried to brave a storm that was obviously going to overwhelm the plane.
“As we were boarding the bus to the aircraft, I got a little concerned. I noticed the rains had started from afar approaching where we were parked” Mr. Owuraku Aidoo told Ghana Web.
“I am speculating that probably, the pilot tried to beat the oncoming clouds that were rolling in, and we taxied to the runway and the rain really caught up with us. So he stopped, prior to taking off proper, and I got more concerned because I could see that the rain was running down the windows very very fast when the plane was stationary, which signified to me that the wind was on the high side,” the Minister said.
Below is the statement from BPS
Starbow Runway Overrun is bringing our country yet closer to witnessing a national disaster. The ICAO Safety Reports for 2015 and 2016 points in that direction for the Regional Aviation Safety Group – Africa and the Indian Ocean (RASG- AFI) comprising 48 countries including Ghana.
The Ministry of Transport and the GCAA are not heeding good advise to set up an independent Accident investigation body as proposed by the Bureau of Public Safety.
Allowing the GCAA to lead and continually investigate such incidents can only save jobs at the authority not lives of passengers.
Perhaps it’s time for the BPS to explore what roles the International Civil Aviation Organization ( ICAO ) and the Federal Aviation Administration ((FAA) can play in getting the State of Ghana to establish such a body as opposed to adhoc investigation committees whose findings and recommendations cannot be assured.
We first called for this body to be set up in 2012 after a plane overshot the runway killing 10 persons.
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By: Marian Ansah/citifmonline.com/Ghana