Bristow Helicopters halt Nigeria operations to investigate crash

The crashed helicopter being pulled out of the Lagos lagoon.

The crashed helicopter being pulled out of the Lagos lagoon.

*Confirms six fatalities, six survivors

Hector Igbikiowubo

13 August 2015, Sweetcrude,Lagos – BRISTOW Helicopters (Nigeria) Limited has suspended flight operations in the country following yesterday’s crash of one of its choppers, to enable it conduct a fair but thorough evaluation of its processes and to determine the immediate and remote cause of the incident.

The company also disclosed that there were 10 passengers and two crew on board the ill fated chopper, adding that six of the passengers including: two of the crew; Captain Joseph ‘Jay’ Wyatt of Oklahoma, USA, and First Officer Peter Bello, of Nigeria lost their lives.

Captain Wyatt joined Bristow in 2006 and has spent his entire career flying for the company out of Africa, while First Officer Bello joined in 2014 after graduating from Bristow Academy’s Helicopter flight school. ‘Both were experienced and qualified.’

While speaking with SweetcrudeReports, Duncan Moore, the company’s Regional Director, Africa & Middle East explained that the decision to halt operations was taken unilaterally in keeping with the company’s commitment to best safety standards and practices.

“We just want to do the right thing, we are going to start a fair evaluation process and we are not going to be rushing back into the skies.

“Typically, when things like this occurs it usually takes about 5 days to get to the bottom of what went wrong,” he explained.

“We are shaken and deeply saddened by this tragic accident. Our thoughts and prayers go to the families, friends and loved ones of all those on board,” Mr. Moore.

“Bristow has mobilized the full resources of its response team and is working closely with authorities on the investigation, including the accident site to recover the aircraft. Medical treatment is being provided to those who are injured and trained coordinators have been assigned to the families of the crew members and passengers to support them with their every need and ensure that they receive the most current information and assistance.”

On the identities of the other four who died in the chopper crash, as well as those who survived, Mr. Moore pointed out that the company’s client (an oil company), has requested that this should not be made public for now.

Bristow disclosed that it has set up a dedicated hotline for family members of those on board the flight, while expressing its appreciation for the help and support it has received from the NCAA, NAIB, NEMA, Lagos state government, industry stakeholders, the traditional ruler and people of the community where the accident occurred.

Bristow Helicopters (Nigeria) Limited provides aviation services to the offshore energy industry, serving major integrated offshore energy companies in Africa’s oil and gas industry.

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