Six people, including an American pilot and his Nigerian first officer, were killed in a helicopter crash in Nigeria’s commercial capital of Lagos Wednesday. The chopper, carrying 12 people, crashed into a lagoon while it was heading from an offshore oil rig to Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos.
The country’s National Emergency Management Agency said Thursday that four bodies were recovered Wednesday while the remaining two bodies were found the next day. Six people were treated at nearby hospitals for injuries. The American pilot was identified as Captain Jay Wyatt, of Oklahoma, and the helicopter was a twin-engine Sikorsky 76C+, operated by British civil helicopter operator Bristow Group, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
The plane crashed just before it was about to land. "We were watching the helicopter swaying in the air. And then it started to go down. As soon as it hit the water, we saw flames," Nkoli Moka, an eyewitness to the crash, said, according to Reuters.
Bristow released a statement after the crash expressing condolences to relatives of the victims. “Our thoughts are with those affected by this accident,” Duncan Moore, Bristow’s regional director for Africa, said in a statement Wednesday, adding: “We are committing our full resources to help.
“Our highest priority is to take care of our crew and clients and their family members and provide them with any assistance needed,” Moore added.
Prior to Wednesday's crash, the chopper type has been involved in two crashes since 2000 -- one in 2002 and another in 2005. Crashes involving private choppers are relatively rare in the country, which has seen several military plane crashes in recent years, AFP reported.