Eleven persons aboard a Bristow 5B BJQ helicopter narrowly escaped death yesterday en-route Lagos from an off-shore location in Port Harcourt as the helicopter ditched into the Atlantic Ocean. News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that the helicopter was carrying nine passengers and two crew members when the incident happened. The spokesman for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said, “It happened 70 nautical miles off Lagos. They were returning from their off-shore location called ERA. Nine passengers and two crew on board were all rescued.”
In a related development, the Accident Investigation Bureau(AIB) in a statement said: “A S76 C++ helicopter marked 5N-BQJ belonging to Bristow Helicopters, which departed ERHA Platform en-route Lagos was ditched into the Atlantic Ocean 95 nautical miles into destination at about 10:20 am local time.All the eleven peoples 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”.
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. Also, the Flag Officer Commanding, FOC Western Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral Osondu said, “MV DIJAMA was the first to get to the scene. It happened 40 nautical miles from Igbokoda, Ondo State. The helicopter had nine passengers and two crew members. All were rescued and handed over to a speedboat, SURFER P2621, which took them ashore to the nearest hospital in Ondo State.”