By Khalid Idris Doya
The Bell 429 helicopter with Registration Marks 5N-MDA owned and operated by Nigerian Police Force (NPF) on Wednesday evening involved in an accident about 3,000 meters away from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa International Airport, Bauchi
Our correspondent who visited the airport on the accident yesterday evening confirmed that it happened outside the airport premises, not as it was earlier reported within the airport fence.
It was also learnt that those involved in the incident are all policemen, six of them in number.It could be recalled that a Police helicopter which Wednesday departed from Abuja with 6 passengers on board at 16:54 UTC crashed landed close to the Bauchi airport.
According to a press statement issued by the General Manager, Public Affairs to the Accident Investigation Bureau, Nigeria, Mr. Tunji Oketunbi said, no injuries or life were lost in the crash.
He said, “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 accident occurred on 26th January, 2022 around 7:30pm (Local Time) at Bauchi Airport. There were some injuries but no fatality.”
The investigating agency called on public to assistance them with any information that could help to identify the cause of the accident.
He said, “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.”
But Police headquarters in Abuja said on Thursday that its Helicopter, Bell 429 5N-MDA, flying from Abuja to Bauchi on Tuesday, February 26, 2022, was involved in a controlled safe landing at the Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa International Airport, Bauchi.
A statement by Force Public Relations Officer, CP Frank Mba 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 (6) onboard 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 7:30 pm (local time).
“The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba has commended the Police Air-Wing for their professionalism in safe-landing the aircraft 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 thirteen (13) helicopters – has got a strong history of air safety since its establishment in the year 1972.”