Tuesday, 28th November 2023
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Danger averted as light aircraft on test-run crashes on Lagos road

By Wole Oyebade and Eniola Daniel
02 August 2023   |   4:13 am
A major disaster was narrowly missed in Lagos, yesterday, when a distressed light-aircraft on test-run crash-landed on busy Oba Akran road in Ikeja, on a gas pipeline and a few metres from a filling station.

Site of crash

• Two survivors rescued, in hospital
• NSIB begins investigation

A major disaster was narrowly missed in Lagos, yesterday, when a distressed light-aircraft on test-run crash-landed on busy Oba Akran road in Ikeja, on a gas pipeline and a few metres from a filling station.

The Jabiru J430 aircraft, with Registration 5N-CCQ, was on its return leg of test-run when it required an emergency landing less than a kilometre from the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA) runway 18Left.

Video footage of nearby Closed-circuit Television (CCTV) showed the airplane impacting a streetlight pole on a fast descent, before crashing on the road and in flames.

The incident, which occurred at about 3:30 p.m. threw the commercial corridor into pandemonium. Timely recovery of residents, however, led to the recovery of the two souls onboard.

The Jabiru J430, a light single-engine airplane, was operated by Air First Hospitality and Tours limited.

The Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB), which has begun investigation, confirmed that the aircraft was on a test flight within Lagos and with two souls onboard, before it crashed with no fatalities recorded.

The aircraft caught fire on impact but the spread was contained, the Bureau noted.

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

In a swift response, the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, visited the crash site at about 6p.m. yesterday. He was full of admiration for residents that rescued the victims.

Sanwo-Olu said: “The two people onboard were rescued safely and are currently at a hospital receiving treatment. We do not know the cause of the crash but we are thankful because we got a quick response both from the Lagos State emergency management authority, and the residents, especially two gallant citizens, Oluwafemi Kapo and Opeyemi.

“While others were running away, two of them looked for water from the gutter and helped in rescuing the people. We are happy that while the unfortunate incident happened in the middle of the road, it did not lead to any fatality.

“Investigation will review what went wrong and we are hoping that people responsible will be held accountable,” Sanwo-Olu said.

Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa, also commended the first responders for their courage.

“The response was excellent. The police from the Command secured the scene the moment it was reported and coordinated with the first respondents. No casualty. I can confirm that it was a single engine plane and not a helicopter as reported.”

Gov. Sanwo-Olu and other officials at the site

Southwest Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Ibrahim Farinloye, added that the two occupants were rescued, though the pilot had serious injuries on his forehead.

“The rescue was timely with the assistance of the local community.

“Surviving a plane crash is a matter of 10 minutes. So, if rescue gets to trapped victims, they will be rescued but anything more than 10 minutes is a problem. So, we appreciate the community. We have a gas plant here and a petrol station and if it’s more than this, more disasters would have been recorded,” Farinloye said.

Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr Oluwafemi Oke-Osanyintolu, said: “The two persons that responded first are example of the public working hand-in-hand with the government, and this is what we have been doing; partnering with the community. We are still going to thank the duo.

“In the last six months, our operation has improved. We are building a community where everyone can carry out basic life support.”

The accident occurred almost three years after a light Bell 206B3 helicopter, with registration Number 5N-BQW, belonging to Quorum Aviation Limited, crashed into residential apartments. The accident killed the pilot and one of two crewmembers onboard, when it lost control and dropped into the compound of No. 16, Salvation road, Opebi.

The helicopter, which was on its way from Port Harcourt to Lagos, crashed a few minutes to touchdown at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.

The NSIB can be reached through info@aib.gov.ng and NSIB_Nigeria on its social media platforms. The Bureau can also be reached on its emergency line +234-807-709-0909.