Bodies Of Crashed Helicopter Pilot, Co-Pilot Recovered
SAN FRANCISCO, August 13, (THEWILL) – The bodies of the remaining two persons missing from Wednesday's helicopter crash in Lagos have been recovered by the search and rescue team at the crash site.
The bodies (a white male and black male) were recovered at about 10.25 a.m. on Thursday night. They were brought to the shore of the lagoon at 10.45 a.m.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the white male was the helicopter's pilot, while the black male was the co-pilot.
NAN observed that while the search team were still looking for the two persons, some relations of the victims besieged the scene looking for their loved ones.
The General Manager of LASEMA, Mr. Michael Akindele, who briefed the media jointly with Dr Onimode Bamdele, South-West Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), said the rescue and search mission had been concluded.
Akindele said that though the bodies had been recovered, they could not give names of the victims because they didn't have the flight manifest.
He commended the local divers, Marine Police, Lagos State Waterways Authority; the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and others for a job well done.
Akindele said the second phase of the operation would be handled by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) of the Federal Ministry of Aviation.
He said the agency would determine how the remains of the helicopter would be evacuated from the water.
Mr. Clement Onyeyiri, Senior Investigator, Air Safety of AIB, said that as at now, all they knew was that there was an accident and that its nature was yet unknown.
Hajia Binta Bello, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Aviation, who was also at the scene, said they were waiting for the AIB report.
Speaking to NAN, one of the divers, Friday Ukpon, who claimed to be a fisherman, said it took them about four hours to find the bodies.
Ukpon said they saw the helicopter crash into the Lagoon while they were fishing in the area.
“We entered the water at 7 a.m. and recovered the bodies at about 10.30 a.m,'' he said.
The police also confirmed that the ill-fated helicopter which plunged into the Lagos Lagoon at Oworonshoki, was carrying 12 passengers when the accident occurred at about 3.10 p.m. on Wednesday.
In all, six persons were rescued while six were killed in the crash.