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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05LAGOS1708
2005-11-01 17:01:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Consulate Lagos
Cable title:  

BELLVIEW CRASH: NOVEMBER 1 UPDATE

Tags:   CASC  EAIR  NI  ASEC  PREL 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

011701Z Nov 05
						C O N F I D E N T I A L LAGOS 001708 

SIPDIS

TRANSPORTATION FOR FAA
DAKAR PLS PASS TO FAA REP ED JONES
ROME PLS PASS TO TSA REP JOHN HALINSKI

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/31/2015
TAGS: CASC EAIR NI ASEC PREL
SUBJECT: BELLVIEW CRASH: NOVEMBER 1 UPDATE

REF: A. LAGOS 1675 AND PREVIOUS


B. ACCRA 2205

Classified By: Consul General Brian L. Browne for 1.5 (D).



1. (C) Summary. Excavation of crash site began October 31
with the National Transportation and Security Board (NTSB)
team and USG forensics team both at the site. The NTSB team
have not yet found the flight data nor cockpit voice
recorders. Forensic team members observed that officials
from Ogun State tried to speed the pace of the excavation,
thereby impinging on the authority of Director of Accidents
Investigation and Prevention Bureau (AIPB) Angus Ozoka. The
forensics team also complained that 45 Nigerian police
located on site did nothing to assist the USG team collect
forensic evidence. The Consul General (CG) spoke to Aviation
Minister Borishade to secure the site, and allow the
excavation process to move according to the forensic team's
schedule. Aviation Minister Borishade agreed police trained
in forensics needed to participate in the investigation.
Staff in Lagos and Abuja also contacted senior police
officials about the need for police involvement in the
forensic aspects of this investigation. End Summary.



2. (C) The forensic team complained that Ogun State
officially ordered the use of heavy equipment to begin
excavating the site without consulting AIPB Director and lead
investigator in charge of the site, Angus Ozoka regarding the
pace of the excavation. Apparently, the Ogun State officials
were more fixated on recovery of plane parts than on
collecting victims remains and personal effects. While the
Nigerian pathologists were helpful, the Nigerian police did
not assist the forensic team in recovery of victims remains.
According to the forensic team, the Ogun State officials
partially succeeded in usurping some of the AIPB Director's
control over the excavation. Fortunately, not very much work
was done yesterday.



3. (C) The CG spoke November 1 with Ogun State Information
Commissioner Niran Malaolu and Aviation Minister Babalola
Borishade regarding the difficulties the forensics team
encountered October 31 at the crash site. At the CG's
suggestions, Minister Borishade agreed that a fence securing
the crash site was needed, that politicians should not
attempt to control the excavation, that aerial photos of the
area and the scene were in order, and that the pace of
excavation should be tempered to allow the forensic team time
to conduct its painstaking work. Commissioner Malaolu
promised to pass our request to Governor Daniel that Ogun
State officials desist from inserting themselves into the
excavation process.



4. (C) The NTSB team met Bellview representatives today to go
over documenting evidence and information regarding the
Bellview flight 3210 flight crew. Many aviation contacts
claim Bellview had been routinely overworking their pilots
(see reftel B) and the company had been under increasing
financial distress.



5. (C) Comment. Given the high public profile this accident
has assumed and the surge of media and emotions around this
event, it will be a challenge for the investigators to keep
the scene completely clear of exogenous actors. We have made
the necessary contacts, and senior officials have agreed to
the necessary steps. However, this must be translated to
their staff at site. We will continue to push for these and
other steps in order to make the scene as secure as possible
and to make the investigation be as effective as possible
under these extenuating conditions. The Nigerian police need
to play a more active role in the forensics process to ensure
that the investigation does not become a USG-led operation
whereby Nigerian police and staff simply stand and watch
without assisting. End Comment.
BROWNE