Three years ago, a Bell 206-B3 helicopter with registration number 5N-BQW that crashed on Salvation Lane, Opebi, Lagos State, was declared non-airworthy;
The helicopter crashed aboard with three passengers.
Although two crew members died on the spot, the third person was rescued earlier and taken to Teaching Hospital at Lagos State University, Ikeja, and later died.
Documents examined by Reporters revealed Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority ruled the crashed helicopter non-airworthy in 2017.
Various Nigerian airline operators have also used the aircraft in the past to dupe NCAA into issuing them Air Operators’ Certificates.
The AOC, which authorizes an operator to perform particular commercial air travel operations, is provided until the NCAA is satisfied that the operator has the staff, equipment and facilities necessary to ensure the safety of its employees and the general public.
An operator applying for an AOC must have an NCAA air transport license which requires it to operate scheduled passenger or freight air services in the country.
A source told eyewitness that certain operators were using the same previously described helicopters to procure NCAA AOCs like the ill-fated Bell 206-3 aircraft with 5N-BQW registration no.
Omni-Blue Aviation Services and Quorum Aviation used the wrecked plane, the source revealed, at various times to receive NCAA AOCs.
“The ill-fated copter was ruled non-airworthy in 2017 after the bulk of the equipment on board was found to have expired.
“Previously, Quorum Aviation had asked the NCAA for an AOC license and the helicopter was found to be defective. NCAA had accused management of struggling to repair the aircraft’s engine.
“Why Quorum Aviation was cleared to fly the plane after that was just something I can’t guess.
“Imagine in 2016 this crashed Bell 206-3 helicopter was lent by Omni-Blue Aviation Services to receive NCAA AOCs. A year later Quorum Aviation with the same helicopter applied for AOC, “he said.
Investigation is reportedly underway into the cause of Friday’s accident.
Part of the building where the helicopter crashed into was demolished while the incident also caused damage to several vehicles around the site.