Could that helicopter crash have been avoided? – Peju Akande

Could that helicopter crash have been avoided? – Peju Akande


The helicopter crash that happened on Friday nags like a sore tooth!



When initial reports came; it was reported that there was no black box in the crashed chopper, so investigators would have to find other slower means of determining what caused the crash.



Secondly, the helicopter was said to be coming into Lagos from Port Harcourt to position itself for prospective charter and was flown by a young boisterous yet experienced pilot. On board were experts; a flight engineer and an aircraft fitter…what else could go wrong in a flight that was meant to be the model for bigger opportunities for Quorum Aviation Limited? When canvassing for businesses; you put your best foot forward, you put your best ideas upfront, especially in the face of stiff competition. Its been reported that everything that should go right was put in place, the helicopter has not just a valid Air Operators’ Certificate (AOC), it also has an insurance cover.




ALSO READ: Air Peace: My hair-raising experience – Peju Akande




So what happened?



Could that helicopter crash have been avoided? – Peju Akande




Accidents happen…even to the most careful of people, accidents happen and many times, may be no fault of the person or persons involved; but maybe just maybe that crash, the helicopter crash that involved the Quorum Aviation Bell 206 on Friday, the 28th of August 2020 shouldn’t have happened if…



-reports that the helicopter had been declared non-airworthy some three years ago is true;



-that it was declared unfit for transportation in 2017 by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority;


– that the sharp practices among airline operators may have cost the lives of the three that perished in the crash on friday and who knows how many more in the nearest future if indeed it is true that this same helicopter belongs to another operator but was used for Quorum Airlines to obtain Air Operator’s Certificate.



-and operators of Bell 206 aren’t the only guilty ones here, the practice of using other operators’ flights to obtain licences is as common as they come!



This is very scary!


That is why it nags.


It’s not like we haven’t seen or read about choppers crashing but that it involved someone so young, so full of life only the previous day also nags.



Did you see the prank video of the Captain in a bag only a day before the crash? It is hilarious! Looking at it and then realizing this young man perished the following day…and was taken in a body bag makes it all the more painful.



So we are wondering, looking for answers, could the lives of the three have been saved?



The pilot of the helicopter, captain Chika Prudence Ernest, Flight Engineer Clement Ndiok and Macaulay Brownson all perished when they crashed into a residential wall at Salvation road Opebi, Lagos. And as accidents go, they were the only casualties. This has been attributed to the sacrifice of the Captain, who was reported to have dumped fuel as soon as he realized they were about to crash. In doing so, he reduced the possibility of the helicopter exploding on impact, thus reducing more casualties on ground.



Captain Chika Prudence Ernest



Kudos to him!



What’s more, eye witnesses on ground swore that the Captain also restrained the faulty chopper from crashing into a school, further ensuring that kids were spared, he went for the wall instead of a building instead, had he crashed on the roof of the house, it is most certain more people would have died.




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I don’t know enough about the engineering of helicopters to determine the veracity of these assertions but I have watched enough on air crashes to know a pilot can maneuver his flight to minimize crash impact and I want to believe that indeed, the captain fought to minimize casualties.



Here’s another ironic part for me; while the young captain and his crew died, most of the residents on ground who he wanted to spare sudden and untimely deaths were aged people!




Ha! Hear me out. I am not wishing for the aged to die sudden, untimely deaths from choppers crashing in on them. But you will agree with me that it’s kind of ironic, right? The young died, the aged were spared!




That is life for you!



Captain Chika Prudence Ernest




ALSO READ: Naira Marley: Useless flyers and the plane that ‘almost crashed’ – Peju Akande



While we all await the outcome of the investigation into the crash, let’s hope the reports of the helicopter being certified airworthy is untrue;



Let’s hope that if indeed this practice of passing off some others’ craft for licences is stopped and the relevant authorities will take active measures to prevent future loss of lives on and off air flights; let’s hope the erring parties are prosecuted for this, because now it is a crime.



While we await reports on the investigation, we pray to God to comfort families of the victims, may their souls find rest.







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