Fresh facts have emerged about the landing of a Tropical Arctic Logistics Limited’s helicopter on Benin- Ore Road.
TAL, the airline in the middle of the controversy, said on Thursday that it got the necessary approval to embark on a medical evacuation, which necessitated the Benin-Ore Highway landing.
The Chief Operating Officer, TAL, Femi Adeniji, said the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency cleared the flight, adding that the airline was contacted by Flying Doctors to evacuate a patient who needed urgent medical attention around Ore.
A NAMA source, however, told The PUNCH that the helicopter was cleared to take off but not to land on a highway.
“There are processes involved, the helicopter got the clearance to take off from Lagos but where it was going is a different matter. I don’t think it got cleared for highway landing,” the source added.
The source, which declined to comment further due to an ongoing investigation by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, said the aircraft could not have been cleared to fly from Lagos to a highway.
Adeniji explained that the airline got a call to evacuate a patient but the destination was not defined, adding that the instruction simply said “Ore road”.
He added that the flight got to Ore, where it had to go round according to standard aviation practice, came low and spotted a yellow flag indicating where the patient was.
According to him, the helicopter flight was not involved in any scheduled flight diversion but got a call strictly for the operation.
He said, “We were only involved in a medical operation that is already gaining global traction. We wish to state that our mission for that flight was to save a life. We immediately swung into action and rushed to the site in record time to pick the individual who is currently recuperating in the hospital.
“We are a licensed logistics company to carry out medical evacuation operations and was engaged to airlift an individual who suffered a serious health challenge while caught in traffic and needed emergency evacuation on the day in question.”