Helicopter crash: 11 persons cheated death in P/harcourt

Eleven persons on Wednesday cheated death after a Bristow 5B BJQ Helicopter enroute Lagos from an off- shore location in Port Harcourt ditched inside the Atlantic Ocean.

Bristow helicopter, minutes before it crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday in Port Harcourt Wednesday

Bristow helicopter, minutes before it crashed into the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday in Port Harcourt Wednesday

The helicopter was carrying nine passengers and two crew members on board when the incident happened.

The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) confirmed the incident.

Mr Sam Adurogboye, spokesperson of NCAA, in a text message, said there was no casualty as the 11 persons on board were rescued after the chopper ditched inside the Atlantic Ocean.

“It happened 70 Nautical Miles off Lagos. They were returning from their off-shore location called ERA. Nine passengers and two crew on board all rescued alive,” he said.

The AIB in a statement also confirmed the crash.

“ A S76 C++ helicopter marked 5N-BQJ belonging to Bristow Helicopters, which departed ERHA Platform enroute Lagos was ditched into the Atlantic Ocean 95 nautical miles into destination at about 10:20am local time.

“All the eleven souls on board including two crew members were rescued alive.

“Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has commenced investigation into the occurrence. Details will be communicated to you later,’’ it said.

Similarly, the General Manager of LASEMA, Mr Michael Akindele, in a statement, said emergency responders including three RRS search and rescue Helicopters, Nigeria Navy, Air Force and others were deployed for the operation.

“The helicopter ditched inside the ocean, however 11 souls on board are alive, no casualty,’’ he said.

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Akindele said Agip, Mobil and Shell oil companies helped with the provision of speed boat to facilitate the rescue operation.

He said that Bristow Helicopter company also provided landing boat for the evacuation of the survivors.

The Media Consultant to Bristow Helicopters, Mr Cornelius Onuora, said the incident was not a crash but a controlled ditching, which was an emergency landing of a helicopter on water.

Onuora said the pilot observed that there was a technical issue with the helicopter and he decided to land it earlier than scheduled.

The incident is coming barely six months after another helicopter belonging to the same company crashed into the Lagos Lagoon.

Six of the 12 persons on board the ill-fated helicopter, including the pilot and the co-pilot, died.

The helicopter, which was enroute Lagos from Akure, crashed into the Oworonshoki area of the lagoon.

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