Helicopter was two minutes from Lagos airport before crashing – Air Traffic Controllers


The helicopter that crashed  on Salvation Road, Opebi, Ikeja, Lagos State, on Friday was about two minutes to reach its destination at Murtala Muhammed Airport.

Two air traffic controllers confirmed this in separate  interviews with the PUNCH on Friday.

This is just as the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.); national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu; and Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State joined Nigerians to commiserate with the families of three crew members who died when the helicopter crashed into a fence separating two houses at 16A, Salvation Road.

While the two crew members died on the spot, the survivor in a critical condition later died at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja.

An air traffic controller at the MMA, who spoke to Saturday PUNCH on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorised to comment on the incident, said  the chopper took off from Port Harcourt, Rivers State and was about two minutes to reach its destination at the local wing of the airport when it crashed around 12.30pm.

The source said, “The helicopter is a Bell 206. The crew did not report any form of distress except that the pilot at some point requested to know if there was rain on the field. He was informed negative at the time. It was unfortunate that the helicopter came down just about two minutes to landing at the airport.”

Another senior ATC, who works at the Radar Section of the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency, also disclosed that the crew did not inform the Control Tower that they had any issue before the crash, lamenting that the helicopter went off the skies barely two minutes to landing.

He added, “It is sad for the aviation industry. The aircraft could not make it to the airport even though it was just about two minutes to landing.”