HISTORY OF FLIGHT
On 12th August, about 1531hrs, 5N-BGD, Sikorsky S-76C+, a domestic chartered flight operated by Bristow Helicopters Ltd (Nigeria), crashed into the Lagoon at Oworonshoki area of Lagos. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed at the time and a VFR flight plan was filed. The two flight crewmembers and four of the ten passengers were fatally injured. The helicopter was destroyed and there was no fire.
The departure point was an offshore oil rig (SEDCO Express) and the destination was Murtala Muhammed Airport (DNMM), Lagos. The accident occurred when 5N-BGD was on the inbound flight of a round trip that originated from Lagos.
On the outbound flight, 5N-BGD arrived SEDCO Express at about 1448hrs reportedly without incident with two passengers. This was also the first flight of the day and the helicopter did not re-fuel for the trip back to Lagos. The mobile drilling platform was located at Lat: 050 40.9’ N; Long: 0040 23.56’ E, 85 NM from Lagos.
5N-BGD departed SEDCO Express about 1455hrs with twelve souls on board including two crewmembers with endurance of 1 hour 30 minutes and initially maintaining 3,000ft. The estimated arrival Lagos was 1536hrs according to the crew information before departure from the rig.
According to Air Traffic Controller’s transcript, the flight first contacted Lagos at 1524:58hrs and at 1525:15hrs, the Controller acknowledged and said “5NBGD go ahead”. At 1525:18hrs the pilot responded “BGD is from the SEDCO Express approaching 1,000ft and the airfield would be at 1535hrs with twelve souls endurance now one hour and 10 minutes of fuel. At 15:25:36 the controller asked the pilot “Confirm the field at 1535hrs” and the pilot answered “Affirmative GD”. The flight was thus cleared to descend to 1,000ft, QNH 1015 and to report field in sight.
At 1530:19hrs, the helicopter contacted the controller and reported the field in sight. At 1530:23hrs, the controller instructed the pilot to report left downwind for runway 18L. The pilot replied “WILCO GD” at 1530:25hrs. There were no further transmissions from the pilots.
Preliminary flight recorder data indicated that at 1000ft and 120Kts, the helicopter experienced sudden pitch up, and left roll with varying attitude of yaw, roll and pitch for
12 seconds until it impacted water at about 1531hrs.