According to the General Manager, Public Affairs, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurugboye, there were 9 passengers and two crew members and all 11 are alive and receiving medical attention.
He said that the next line of action would be for the Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, to move in, to begin investigation into the cause(s) of the crash with a view to preventing a recurrence.
He said “we thank God that all on board are alive. They will be interrogated, the wreckage will be taken out, the black box will be decoded and the report of the AIB will determine the next line of action.”
The identities of those on board are yet to be ascertained but they are believed to oil workers.
The crash is coming about six months after another helicopter belonging to same company crashed into the Lagos lagoon killing six of the 12 people on board.
The three helicopters of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) purchased by the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode government aided the location and rescue of those on board the crashed helicopter.
The RRS helicopters are part of the security equipment purchased at a cost of N4.7billion by the Governor Ambode administration with the aim of beefing up security as well as aid in emergency rescue operations.
A statement by Habib Aruna, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor said that the Commander of the RRS, Olatunji Disu, immediately the command was alerted of the crash on Wednesday morning, immediately deployed the three helicopters to commence a search for its possible location.
The statement, quoting Disu said “We knew they just took off at the airport. Everybody thought the helicopter crashed in their air field. But we immediately deployed the three RRS helicopters into the air and started the search.
“After some time the crashed helicopter was located 68 nautical miles out of Lagos on the ocean and we were able to communicate with the company”.
He said Shell, Agip and Mobil oil companies provided speed boats, while the RRS Marine Boat was also deployed to join the search and rescue operations.
“LASEMA, Airport Police and others and the Fire Service were at the airport waiting, because they had thought that the crash occurred at the airport, but the RRS helicopters acting on information hovered around the air until the location of the crash was identified in the ocean”, Disu said.
He said all the 11 persons on board the crashed helicopter; nine passengers and the two crew members were rescued alive, attributing it to the adherence of safety measures by the passengers and the timely intervention of rescue operations.
“The joint effort of the rescue team spearheaded by the RRS in collaboration with Shell, Agip and Mobil oil companies went a long way to save the lives of those on board. Only the pilot sustained injuries”, he said.
Since the handing over of the equipment in November last year, the RRS helicopters have been deployed to various crime and traffic scenes, which has aided in effective surveillance and aerial patrol.