Two people were confirmed dead, while one person was severely injured after a helicopter crashed into a building in Opebi, Lagos, on Friday, officials have said.
The Lagos State Emergency Management Agency and other emergency responders confirmed the casualties and said they have recovered the remains of the helicopter.
The cause of the crash is yet to be ascertained at the time this report was filed.
Nosa Okunbor, the spokesperson of LASEMA, told PREMIUM TIMES that the Accident Investigation Bureau will determine the cause.
“They will be the ones to come up with their report after a forensic investigation into the cause of the crash.
“They have retrieved the Blackbox and it is in their custody. After examining the pilot’s last moment before the crash and tell what transpired.”
PREMIUM TIMES reporter who was at the scene of the crash gathered that there was no casualty in the neighbourhood, asides from visible damage to the fence of the crashed building and the car parked in the compound.
“The casualty is between the three occupants of the helicopter. We are yet to identify the two dead passengers. We don’t know whether one of them is the pilot. One is in critical condition at the General Hospital Lagos,” Mr Okunbor said.
Some residents in the area expressed shock over the crash, thanking God for saving their lives.
The residents, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the scene of the incident, called for proper maintenance of aircraft before flying.
Grace Awolaja, a resident, told NAN that it was shocking and surprising to experience such an unexpected incident.
According to Mrs Awolaja, the helicopter was seen hovering in the sky for some minutes before crashing into the building.
“We thank God that nobody was affected in the building but l learnt that the pilot and two people died,’’ Awolaja said.
Another resident, Saliu Bamidele, suggested that engine seizure might be responsible for the crash.
Mr Bamidele said that the helicopter crashed at the back of house No. 16, Salvation Road, damaging two cars and the fence of the building.
Mark Okeke, a fabric shop owner in front of the building, told NAN that the helicopter was sighted in the air struggling to crash-land in the canal but “suddenly pick up and faced the building’’.
“We just heard loud sound with heavy dust from the house.
“Many occupants of the building were not at home.
“However, the pilot and three others on board of the helicopter were found dead.
The Acting Coordinator, Lagos Territorial Office of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Ibrahim Farinloye, confirmed to NAN that the helicopter belonged to Quorum Aviation Ltd.
Mr Ibrahim said that the incident occurred at about 12.47 p.m. at 16, Salvation Road, Opebi, Lagos.
He confirmed that two persons died immediately while one person was taken to the intensive Care Unit of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH).
“The helicopter, Bell 206, with registration number 5N-BQW, which was returning from training in Port Harcourt crashed into a building at No. 16A Salvation Road, Opebi, Ikeja,’’ Farinloye said.
An official of the Accident Investigations Bureau (AIB) also confirmed the incident, saying that emergency services operators had been deployed to the scene.
The General Manager, Public Affairs of AIB, Tunji Oketunbi, said that the AIB team of investigators were also on ground at the scene of the incident.
Mr Oketunbi assured that the bureau would begin investigations into the crash immediately. (NAN)
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