The crashed Helicopter

Chinedu Ezeo

A Nigerian registered helicopter with number 5N-BQH owned by yet to be named politician from the Niger Delta and operated by Captain Wale Makinde was involved in accident in Benin Republic on Thursday, but no life was lost.

THISDAY learnt that the helicopter, a private airworthiness aircraft meant for private use was contracted for commercial purposes by a presidential candidate in Benin Republic who wanted to use it for campaigns for four weeks before it got involved in accident.

According to a source from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) which confirmed the incident, the tail rotor of the helicopter hit an object and the pilot lost control but no life was lost; however, it was not yet confirmed the extent of injury sustained by the souls onboard the chopper.

THISDAY also learnt that the helicopter is maintained by Aero Contractors, but an NCAA source said the airline was also managing the aircraft.

“I can confirm that the helicopter was involved in accident and it is beyond our jurisdiction because it happened outside Nigeria but we are monitoring things; although I do not have much details yet, but the accident investigation body from that country will have to find out the cause of the accident and the extent of damage done on the aircraft,” the NCAA source said.

THISDAY also gathered that as a helicopter with private and not commercial license, it ought not to have been used to render commercial services because by regulation it should only be used by the owner, so the helicopter was used for illegal charter operation.

It left Port Harcourt on Thursday, landed and refueled in Lagos before it departed to Cotonou where it was to be used for political campaigns by a presidential candidate in Nigeria’s neighbouring country.