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Thursday, 4 February 2016

Helicopter Plunges intoAltantic Ocean, 11 Escape Death



Tragedy was averted in Lagos on Wednesday after a helicopter belonging to Bristow Helicopters Nigeria Limited plunged into the Atlantic Ocean.

PUNCH Metro learnt that the nine passengers and two crew members on board escaped death, as they were rescued by emergency workers.
Only the pilot was said to have sustained injuries in the crash.
This is coming six months after a chopper belonging to the same company crashed in the Oworonshoki area of the state, killing six of the passengers.
Our correspondent gathered that the Wednesday incident occurred around 10.20am while the helicopter, with registration number, N5BQI, was flying from Port Harcourt en route to Lagos.
The Nigeria’s Mission Control Centre, through the Cospas SARSat, was said to have received a distress signal from the helicopter, and emergency workers were quickly mobilised to search for it.
Three Rapid Response Squad helicopters, supported by men and officers of the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air Force, were said to have gone in search of the plane after it was declared missing.
It was said to have been spotted in the ocean.
The spokesperson for the National Emergency Management Agency, South-West zone, Ibrahim Farinloye, said the crash occurred at a location of 05 44.3N 004 16.9E.
He said, “The Nigeria’s Mission Control Centre, through the Cospas SARSat, picked the distress alert beacon from the helicopter at a coordinate of 05 44.3N 004 16.9E, which is in the Lagos area.
“Cospas SARSat is a global search and rescue equipment and Nigeria has one of the four in Africa. Others are in Algeria, South Africa and Tunisia. Nigeria’s system covers the whole of West and Central Africa. Whoever installs the beacon in his plane or ship, once there is an emergency and the beacon shakes, it is activated. This was what happened in this situation. We picked the signal and immediately raised a rescue team with the Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency.”
The General Manager of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Michael Akindele, while commending the readiness of the emergency management agencies, attributed the rescue of the victims to “the will of God.”
He said the use of life jackets by the passengers and crew members also aided their rescue.
Akindele said, “The helicopter plunged into the ocean and all 11 souls survived; there was no casualty. The support of Agip, Mobil and Shell companies in the provision of speedboats proved vital. Bristol Helicopters also provided a landing boat for the evacuation of the survivors.
“The survival of the passengers is due to adherence to the use of life jackets. The success of this is attributed to the will of God and the recently conducted emergency preparedness simulation of air crash by NEMA, LASEMA and other stakeholders. Further investigation on the crash will be looked into by the relevant authorities.”
Bristow Helicopters, in a statement on Wednesday, confirmed the incident and the involvement of its helicopter.
It, however, said the helicopter was involved in “water landing” while returning from an offshore platform.
The statement added that the nine passengers and two crew members on board were safe.
It said, “Bristow Helicopters (Nigeria) Limited, confirms that one of its helicopters was involved in a water landing near Lagos at about 10.25am local time on return from an offshore platform.
“The aircraft, a Sikorsky S-76C++, had departed on a routine crew transfer flight offshore with nine passengers and a crew of two.
“All persons onboard are accounted for and are in the process of being transferred to a nearby installation.
“The company is in the process of collecting pertinent information and will release more details as soon as it is available.”
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