The Zonal Coordinator, National Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Iyiola Akande Friday reiterated the importance of emergency beacons to airlines as he noted that emergency services responded quickly to the Associated Airlines plane crash on Thursday because the aircraft had emergency beacon.
According to him, the speed at which the emergency services responded was responsible for the reduction in casualty figure “because the airline had the emergency beacon, which alerts responders about an aircraft in distress.”
Speaking through NEMA Public Relations Officer, South-west Zone, Mr. Ibrahim Farinloye, Akande said it was quite fortunate the aircraft had the Cospas-Asrsat, a satellite based equipment meant to track either an air borne aircraft, maritime vessel or vehicles on land.
“The equipment sends out signals or distress calls to those holding the beacon which would indicate the place of the incident, the phone number and address of the owner of the aircraft, vehicle or vessel and then the crash site would be searched for within 50 square meters.
“This is designed in such a way that immediately there is a distress situation, the equipment sends out signals which are intercepted at NEMA headquarters. The headquarters would then alert the necessary local emergency stakeholders immediately,” he said.
Akande added, “In this case, the Cospas-Asrsat sent a signal to NEMA headquarters and we were alerted and we speedily moved to the crash site where alongside officials of the fire service, we rescued seven persons.
“When we got to the scene, it was easier to rescue the survivors because they were at the rear end of the plane and the fire didn’t get to them much, because the plane broke into two on impact with the ground.
“However, while we were on the way to the hospital, one of the survivors died as a result of shock and possible internal haemorrhage but that is subject to autopsy results.
“We call on airlines whether charter, cargo or commercial to acquire this because it is for their own safety too. We advocate that they get the 492 megahertz beacon which is digital as it is more reliable.”
“Before this year ends, the analog beacon would be phased out because it is not as reliable as the digital one. The analog is prone to false alerts because the signals can be intercepted or disrupted by radio waves.”