The company that operated the helicopter that allegedly airlifted a sick patient at the Benin-Ore highway last weekend said it secured approvals from relevant regulatory agencies before embarking on the evacuation service.
The company, Tropical Arctic Logistics Limited (TAL), said the chopper was chartered for a medical evacuation operation, and that that was not the first time it had engaged in such service.
This was disclosed by the Chief Operating Officer of the company, Femi Adeniji, when he addressed journalists in Lagos Thursday.
Adeniji said the company received approval from the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), which endorsed the clearance for the flight, stressing that it did not breach any aviation regulation in its bid to conduct life-saving operations in collaboration with Flying Doctors.
The COO said the company was yet to receive any queries or communication from Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) concerning the flight.
Adeniji also explained that the company was surprised at the undue outrage over the incident, noting that what was a normal operation has gained global attention to the company.
He also denied that the operating helicopter was never involved in any scheduled flight diversion as alleged.
“We wish to state that our mission for that flight was to save a life. We immediately swung into action and rushed to the site in record time to pick the individual who is currently recuperating in the hospital. We are a licenced logistics company which carries out medical evacuation operations, and was engaged to airlift an individual who suffered a serious health challenge while caught in traffic and needed emergency evacuation on the day in question.
“The Benin-Ore road evacuation was conducted in close collaboration with security agencies, the Nigerian Army and Nigerian Police, which worked assiduously in trying to clear the gridlock caused by the on-going road construction.
They directed us to a clear portion of the road where the operation was handled free from any incident,” Adeniji explained.
NCAA had last Monday said it would investigate the operation of TAL concerning the airlifting of the patient.
The incident has gathered controversy on the social media since the evacuation last weekend.