Four die in Lagos helicopter crash
Twelve people were on board of the aircraft.
Also confirming the incident, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) through its General Manager, Public Affairs, Fan Ndubuoke, said: “A Bristow Helicopter, with registration number 5N – BDG – 760540, en route one of the nation’s oil rigs crashed at Oworonshoki in Lagos this afternoon.
“The helicopter scheduled to arrive Lagos 15.35 p.m. had 12 passengers on board, including the crew.
“At present, officials of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Nigeria Police are at the site providing rescue operation for the victims.
The Guardian, which was on ground immediately the accident happened, can confirm that the remaining two passengers, who sustained varying degrees of injuries, were taken to the Afolabi Hospital in Oworonshoki and the General Hospital, Ikeja, for emergency treatment.
The accident, which occurred at about 3.45 p.m., caught the residents of the busy area by surprise. Eyewitnesses said residents heard a loud bang on the waters and “quickly rushed to the scene to ascertain what was amiss.” When they discovered that it was a helicopter accident, they raised the alarm leading to the arrival of relevant authorities for rescue operations. Help, it was learnt did not come immediately the crash happened.
The Guardian were told by eyewitnesses that the plane hovered several times around the area before crashing into the waters, just behind the Oworonshoki Police Station.
Public Affairs Officer of the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), Ibrahim Farinloye, who confirmed the incident, said the four dead bodies were recovered at the site. The two injured passengers are currently responding to treatment at the Afolabi Hospital.
Six people have been rescued so far, with two still missing. He said another injured person is also at the Gbagada General hospital.
Meanwhile the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has commiserated with the victims of the helicopter, expressing deep regrets over the unfortunate incident.
Ambode, who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Idiat Oluranti Adebule, added that the government dispatched its emergency team to the site upon hearing of the accident, informing that top officials of government were at the site on the directive of the governor to get first-hand information on the accident and offer necessary support and assistance while also allaying fears of residents.
Adebule said she visited the scene of the accident to assess the situation.
The bodies of the dead have been moved to the Mainland General Hospital Mortuary.
The four rescued alive are receiving treatment at the Gbagada General Hospital.
Mr. Michael Akindele, who led a team of LASEMA officials, told journalists that passengers aboard the aircraft were said to be returning to Lagos from Ondo oilrigs after two weeks of offshore operation
Nigeria’s plane crashes
Nigeria has recorded several air mishaps involving passenger planes, especially in the last decade.
Kano crash of BOAC ARGONAUT
The Kano crash of BOAC Argonaut in 1956 may have been the beginning of this tale of woes.
Although it was not a Nigerian plane, the accident occurred on June 4, 1956 when a British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) four-engine Canadair C-4 Argonaut airliner register G-ALHE crashed into a tree on departure from Kano Airport, three of the seven crew members and 29 of the 38 passengers were killed, and two crew and two passengers sustained serious injuries.
At 17:21 the Argonaut departed runway 25 at the Kano Airport on its way to Tripoli in Libya. The flight, which was traveling from Lagos en route London, but it had to make a scheduled stopover in Kano. It was raining as the aircraft reached 250 feet. All that the pilot did to stabilise it never yielded result.
Nigeria Air Ways Flight 825
On November 20, 1969, Nigeria Airways Flight 825, a Vickers VC-10 aircraft, crashed while approaching Lagos, Nigeria killing all 87 people, 76 passengers and 11 crew, on board. It was from London en route Lagos with intermediate stops in Rome and Kano. With its under carriage down and its flaps partially extended, the VC-10 struck trees 13 km short of runway 19. The aircraft crashed into the ground, an area of thick forestand exploded.
The cause of the mishap could not be determined, as the flight recorder was not working at the time of the crash.
Bellview Airlines Flight 210
Bellview Airlines Flight 210, a Boeing 737-200 crashed, killing all 117 people on board. It crashed after taking off from the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos en route the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. The approach controller tried to contact the flight at 20:46 hours but could not get any response from the other end. Following an alert raised with National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) to start search and rescue operations, the next day, 23 October, 2005, the wreckage of the plane was found on a flat terrain in a woody area 14 nautical miles from the airport near Lisa village in Ifo, Ogun State.
After the crash, searchers could not find either the voice or flight recorder to determine the actual cause of the accident.
ADC Flight crash
In 2006, a passenger plane operated by the Aviation Development Company (ADC) Airlines, Flight53, crashed on October 29 shortly after taking off from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, at around noon local time (11:00 GMT). It was reported to have 104 people on board. It fell to the ground, broke up and caught fire in a cornfield killing several eminent Nigerians among whom were Muhammadu Maccido, the Sultan of Sokoto and spiritual Leader of Nigeria’s Muslims, as well as his son. The crash of the Sokoto-bound plane sparked intense national protest as the country called for total overhaul of the entire aviation system.
Dana Air Flight 992, a McDonnell Dougles MD-83 aircraft making, a scheduled commercial passenger flight from Abuja to Lagos, crashed on Sunday June 3, 2012 into a furniture work and printing press building in the Iju-Ishaga neighbourhood of Lagos.
The forced landing and subsequent crash resulted in the death of all 153 passengers on board and 10 others on the ground. The aircraft was a twin-engine MD-83 registered in Nigeria as 5N-RAM.
The accident had occurred after the crew reported engine trouble and declared an emergency 11 nautical miles (20km) from the airport. It crashed into a crowded neighbourhood near the airport, apparently landing on its tail and causing a large fire.
An aircraft operated by Nigeria’s Associated Airlines that has 20 persons on board was reported crashed in Lagos in 2013 claiming the lives of 13 people.
Given yesterday’s chopper crash, therefore, industry experts have advised that something serious should be done about the monster of air crashes in Nigeria, especially as the country has attained the Category-1 status for air safety.