NAMA conducts emergency rescue operations ahead of 2022 ICAO audit

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Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) says it conducted an Emergency Rescue Operation ahead of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) audit scheduled for the first quarter of 2022.

The Managing Director, NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu made this known while addressing participants at the end of the exercise in Lagos on Monday.

Akinkuotu said the agency joined forces with critical stakeholders in the aviation emergency rescue operations to conduct a live aeronautic simulation of an air crash.

The managing director said this occurred at the Mafoluku area of Oshodi in Lagos, a few meters from Runway 18 Left and the local airport, Ikeja with code-named “SAREXNAMA 2021.

“The search and rescue exercise focused on a disaster that could result from an air crash and create mass casualty incident which requires a coordinated response from critical stakeholders saddled with the responsibility of managing aviation emergencies.

“The mock air crash search and rescue exercise involved an aircraft with registration No. ZYMMM from Abuja to Accra.

“The aircraft diverted to Lagos due to electrical problem, and onboard were 38 souls including 4 crew. 15 survivors were rescued while 23 others were unaccounted for,” he said.

Akinkuotu noted that several gaps were observed during the exercise especially in the areas of coordination and response to the alert, assuring that the agency would work assiduously with relevant stakeholders to close the said gaps.

He said as specified by the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) of ICAO Annex 12, Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulation Pt. 14 of 2005, NAMA Search and Rescue Manual, and the National Disaster Response Plan by NEMA, in accordance with Act 12 of 1999 constitution.

Akinkuotu said the exercise was being coordinated by NAMA annually to test the procedures and communication between NAMA and other agencies involved in search and rescue and their collaboration.

He ascertained the prompt response of NAMA facilities and personnel to an incident, ascertain the preparedness of other agencies involved in the exercise and their response to alert as well as verify the operability of the joint rescue coordination center.

According to him, the exercise also seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of all functional elements of NAMA Search and Rescue systems and their collaboration with other organizations within and outside the airport in the event of an emergency.

The National Daily reports that participants include all the aviation agencies, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Nigeria Air Force, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigeria Police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC).

Others are the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Federal Fire Service, Lagos State Fire Service, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), the Nigerian Red Cross, as well as Caverton Helicopters, among others.