Nigerians have hailed the heroic performance of the deceased pilot of the ill-fated Quorum Helicopter, which crashed in between two buildings at Opebi, Lagos on Friday.
Daily Trust on Sunday reports that the pilot was able to manoeuvre the plane to crash in between buildings to be able to save the residents.
The pilot had emptied the fuel in the chopper, a standard practice in emergency situation, in order to prevent explosion which could have caused maximum damage on the ground.
Another option open to the pilot was to land in a nearby Opebi Primary School but sources said he avoided the place because of students writing their exit examinations.
Many Nigerians, who took to Twitter, said the late Captain was indeed a hero.
The helicopter, Bel 206 with registration number 5N-BQW, crashed into an open space of a four and one story building around 12 pm on Friday, killing all the three crew members on board.
The helicopter was operated by Quorum Aviation Service which was licensed to operate both fixed wing and rotary service.
– NCAA to probe –
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Civi Aviation Authority (NCAA) has reacted to a media report that the it had declared the aircraft not air worthy.
Director-General of the NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu, in a chat with our correspondent yesterday said the authority would investigate the claim.
“I read it just like you.
“You know I am still new in NCAA.
“I will investigate the claim and get back to you what the issues are,” he said.
Already, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has commenced investigation of the crash.
However, it was later discovered that the chopper was not fitted with flight recorders, which usually aid in the investigation of air accident.
But an aviation analyst, Capt. Alex Nwuba, said flight data recorder (FDR) applies primarily to larger aircraft.
He said: “ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) Annex 6, Parts 1 and 2.
“Part 1 applies to commercial aircraft; Part 2 is for non-commercial operations.
“The basic standards for both Parts are essentially similar, calling for: Type I flight data recorders to be installed in all aircraft first issued individual certificates of airworthiness on or after January 1, 1989, with maximum certificated takeoff weights (MCTW) over 27,000 kg (59,525 lbs).
“Type IA FDRs be installed in all aircraft issued certificates of airworthiness after January 1, 2005, with maximum certificated takeoff weights exceeding 5,700 kg (12,566 lbs).”
According to him, “the bell 206 is certified at approximately 3,350lbs which is 1519kg and therefore does not require an FDR.”
Meanwhile, the Lagos State Government has fumigated the buildings affected by the crash to safeguard the health of the residents.
The state emergency management agency (LASEMA) confirmed the development on Saturday.
Also, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State visited the site on Saturday where he assured residents of their safety.
He also commiserated with families, friends and associates of the victims of the unfortunate helicopter crash.
In a condolence message signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, Governor Sanwo-Olu promised that his government will work with all relevant Federal Government agencies to unravel the remote and immediate cause of the accident so as to prevent a recurrence.
He advised residents of Opebi and its surrounding to go about their business peacefully, saying there was nothing to fear as men and officers of the State emergency services were promptly deployed to the scene of the crash and they had brought everything under control.
– Reps decry crash –
Similarly, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Honourable Nnolim Nnaji, expressed saddeness over the unfortunate crash.
Honourable Nnaji also extended his sympathy to the families of the dead three occupants of the ill-fated copter as well as the management and staff of Quorom Aviation.
He said: “We must also be thankful to God that we didn’t record any ground casualty”, adding that It was a great miracle that such crash could occur within a residential area in a city so populated like Lagos without any ground casualties.
Honourable Nnaji, however, urged the officials of the AIB and other agencies that would be collaborating with it in investigation to do their best to unravel the cause of the accident.