Four people were confirmed dead on Wednesday, after a Bristow helicopter with 10 passengers and two crew members on board, plunged into the lagoon at the Oworonsoki end of the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos.
The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) confirmed that four people were rescued alive and rushed to the General Hospital in Gbagada while another two who were rescued last night were taken to a private hospital in Ikeja.
The NCAA statement read in part, “A Bristow helicopter with registration number, 5N – BDG – 760540, en route from one of the nation’s oil rigs has crashed at Oworonshoki in Lagos this evening.
“The helicopter scheduled to arrive Lagos at 15.35pm had 12 people on board including the crew. However, the number of casualties has yet to be determined.”
As at the time of the incident, while speaking on the fate of the remaining two passengers, the Director, Lagos State Fire Service, Engr. Rasaq Fadipe said:
“We have just deployed officials of the Nigerian Navy Special Boat Service who are specialists in marine search and rescue and they are to continue the search and rescue operation.”
However, the remaining two people were reportedly rescued this (Thursday) morning.
It was gathered that the helicopter plunged into the ocean at about 3pm, Wednesday, just behind the Oworonsoki police station close to the palace of the Oba of Oworonsoki.
Witnesses report says that a loud bang was heard just before the helicopter descended and plunged into the lagoon.
A resident of the area said: “Suddenly, we heard a loud noise and saw the helicopter inside the ocean.”
The aircraft which was coming from one of the oil rigs in the country crashed about five minutes to its scheduled landing time at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.
It was also gathered that many of the victims were working for an oil service firm, which was doing a job for a multinational oil company. The oil workers were coming back to Lagos when the incident occurred.
The Chairman of the boat operators group in the area, Alhaji Rasaq Isiaq, said he directed his men to rescue the victims immediately after the crash.
He said, “Initially, the aircraft wanted to land on a two-storey building, but moved forward and crashed inside the lagoon. I called my boys instantly and notified the
DPO of the station. We rescued six people alive while four were dead.”
Bristow Helicopters is a civil aviation company which mainly serves oil and gas companies.
The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) said it had commenced investigation into the Bristow helicopter that crashed into the lagoon in Lagos.
This is contained in a statement issued by the bureau’s General Manager, Public Affairs, Mr Tunji Oketunbi, in Lagos.
The statement said the investigation had commenced with the AIB Commissioner, Dr Felix Abali, leading the team.
The News Agency of Nigeria NAN reports that Bristow-owned helicopter crashed inside ExxonMobil Facility in Port Harcourt on Aug. 3, 2007.
Another crash involving Bristow Helicopters also occurred on July 14, 2011 in Port Harcourt.