Air Mishap: Pilot, Co-pilot, Others Safe, Say Police

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Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja

The Nigeria Police said yesterday that the pilot, co-pilot and other crew members on board the Nigeria Police Helicopter, Bell 429 5NMDA, that crash landed in Bauchi Airport are safe.

It said none of the crew members sustained any injury in what it said was a “safe controlled landing.”

But an earlier statement by the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) contradicted the position of the police.

The AIB said the police helicopter, which departed from Abuja crash landed at the Bauchi Airport, stating , however, that no loss of life was recorded.

“On 26th January, 2022, Accident Investigation Bureau, Nigeria was notified by Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) about an accident involving a Bell 429 helicopter with Registration Marks 5N-MDA owned and operated by Nigerian Police Force (NPF),” the statement said.

“The accident occurred on 26th January, 2022 around 7:30pm at Bauchi Airport. “The NPF helicopter had departed Abuja at 16:54 UTC for Bauchi with six persons on board maintaining 5,500ft.

“There were some injuries but no fatality”, it said.

“The investigating agency, AIB-N needs and hereby solicits for your assistance. We want the public to know that we would be amenable to receiving any video clips, evidences, or information any member of the public may have of the accident that can assist us with this investigation.

“The bureau will appreciate that the general public and press respect the privacy of the people involved and not assume the cause of the accident until a formal report is released”, he said.

However, a statement issued by Force Headquarters in Abuja, said the “aircraft was involved in a controlled safe landing at the Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa International Airport, Bauchi”.

It said: “The aircraft did not crash as being reported in some sections of the media and none of the occupants sustained any injury whatsoever.

“All six on board including the pilot and co-pilot are in good condition.

Similarly, the aircraft, which was flown by one of the best police pilots, was professionally safe-landed with minor damage on the rear rotor as a result of obstacle at the landing spot. The incident occurred around 7:30pm (local time)”.

The statement signed by Force Public Relations Officer, Mr. Frank Mba, a Commissioner of Police, said the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Usman Alkali Baba, commended the police air wing for their professionalism in landing the aircraft safely and averting any serious air mishap.

He further noted that the “Nigeria Police Air Wing, with a fleet of one fixed wing aircraft, a citation jet and 13 helicopters, has got a strong history of air safety since its establishment in the year 1972.”