A helicopter marked 5NBGD, belonging to Bristow Helicopters with 12 people on board, yesterday, crashed into the Lagoon near the Oworonsoki end of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos.
The helicopter was said to be coming from one of the oil rigs in the Escravos area of Delta State and was said to be heading to Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja when it went down around 3.p.m.
Reports say three of those on board were confirmed dead, while six others, who were rescued, were moved to the nearby Gbagada General Hospital and a private hospital.
The crash occurred at the back of Oworonsoki Police Station after a loud bang was heard from the helicopter. The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, its Lagos State counterpart, LASEMA, and policemen were said to have embarked on rescue operations immediately after the crash.
The Divisional Police Officer, DPO, Oworonshoki, Chief Superintendent of Police, CSP Chijioke Nduka, who led officers to the scene to rescue victims told Vanguard that there was a loud sound from the aircraft before the crash. To make rescue operations easier, routes to the site of the crash were cordoned off.
Director of Fire Services, Lagos State, Mr, Rasaq Fadipe and Public Relations Officer of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, LASEMA, Mr. Kehinde Adebayo, confirmed the incident when contacted.
Adebayo said LASEMA, upon receipt of distress call raced to the scene and immediately commenced rescue operation.
“Three bodies were recovered from the debris of the crash while two that were also rescued were rushed to hospital for prompt medical attention.
LASEMA later confirmed that four bodies, all male, have been recovered so far, while six victims were rescued. Four of the rescued victims were said to be in stable condition and responding to treatment at Ggbagada General Hospital while two others are receiving treatment at a private hospital in Oworonsoki.
The suvivors were named as Solomon Ude, Joshua Emekema, Chukwudi Onah, Dolu Epiejura, Ononode Ojeite and Iniala Opaimi. Search is still on for the two remaining passengers.
In its reaction, regulatory agency, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said there were 12 people on board the chopper, including the crew.
According to Mr Fan Ndubuoke, General Manager, Public Affairs, NCAA, “A Bristow Helicopter with registration number 5N – BDG – 760540 from one of the nation’s oil rigs crashed at Oworonsoki in Lagos this evening.
“The helicopter scheduled to arrive Lagos 3.35 pm had 12 souls on board including the crew. However, the number of casualties is yet to be determined.”
The cause of the crash is yet to be ascertained. However, spokesman of the Accident Investigation Bureau, Mr Tunji Oketunbi confirmed that the bureau has commenced investigation into the crash.