Aug 04, 2023

FG orders probe as test

Scene of the Helicopter crash in Ikeja, Lagos, today

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There was panic on Tuesday in the Oba Akran area of Ikeja, Lagos State as a light single-engine airplane burst into flames after crashing on the road.

The crash happened opposite the United Bank for Africa around 3.30 pm.

It was learnt that only two persons, the pilot and a passenger, were on board.

The Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau, while confirming the incident, in a statement, said the aircraft, Jabiru J430, with Nationality and Registration Marks 5N-CCQ, operated by Air First Hospitality & Tours, “was on a test flight” when the incident happened.

The Director, Public Affairs and Consumer Protection, NSIB, Tunji Oketunbi, said the agency had “commenced investigation into the accident.”

It was gathered that the crash sent the area into panic following the explosion as residents were seen running helter-skelter as they scampered for safety.

A video of the incident that circulated online showed the aircraft crashing on the road and immediately bursting into flames.

The Director, Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service, Margaret Adeseye, in a message to The PUNCH, said, “The crash occurred on Oba Akran Avenue, Ikeja, and no life was lost. Two persons were rescued with varying degrees of injury.”

The Director General, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Dr Olufemi Damilola Oke-Osanyintolu, when contacted about the crash, said, “The agency has activated its disaster response plan to the above incident which occurred around 4pm.”

An eyewitness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said a white Hilux vehicle escaped being involved in the crash by whiskers.

He said, “The passengers in the craft were rescued. The Hilux was coming after the craft, it escaped crashing into the fire.”

Another source said the aircraft hit a pole and struggled in the air before bursting into flames.

Speaking at the scene of the crash, the Coordinator, South-West Zonal Office of the National Emergency Management Agency, Ibrahim Farinloye, said, “It’s a propeller engine. The search and rescue retrieved some personal belonging of the two members.”

On his part, the state Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa, who also visited the scene, described the situation as unfortunate, adding that policemen were immediately deployed to the scene to assist emergency responders.

Owohunwa said, “Immediately we heard about the incident, we immediately deployed the police to the scene to coordinate with emergency responders. We succeeded in rescuing the two victims. It’s a light single-engine plane. The police recovered the engine and other items were fully secured and being processed to the accident investigation bureau of the airport authority.”

A resident noted that a gas pipeline of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited passes through the area, saying, “The situation would have been very critical if the plane had hit the gas pipeline.”

The NSIB said the aircraft caught fire on impact but the spread was contained by the rainfall at the time of impact, adding that, “The two souls on board were taken to the hospital.

“The NSIB, hereby, solicits information from the general public in the form of pictures, video or recording evidence to assist in conducting a comprehensive investigation.”

Meanwhile, the Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, visited the scene of the accident.

The governor, who noted that the cause of the crash had yet to be known, commended residents of the area for their quick response, especially two young men whose names he gave as Oluwafemi and Opeyemi for coming out to rescue the two occupants of the aircraft.

“There was an unfortunate helicopter crash on Oba Akran road, right in the middle of the road. It was a single-engine helicopter that had two passengers on board. The two passengers on board have been rescued safely. They are currently at a hospital and they are receiving treatment as we speak.

“We do not know the cause of the helicopter crash. That will be done by experts. That will be done by NSIB, which is an investigative bureau. But we are thankful that we got a very quick response both from the Lagos State Emergency Agency and all you residents of this neghbourhood.”

“The crash site has been sealed off, all of the wreckage has been evacuated and they’re in a truck right now and will be transported to be officially handed over to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority where I’m sure extensive investigation will be done,” the governor said.

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