The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) was notified by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) of the accident on 22nd October, 2009 at about 1200hrs. The Bureau investigators were dispatched to the site same day. All other stakeholders were notified accordingly.
The Bell 407 helicopter registered 5N-BIC operated from Abuja to Calabar on the 20th of October 2009. On the 21st of October 2009, 5N-BIC departed Calabar to Port Harcourt at about 1230hrs on a Visual Flight Rules (VFR) positioning flight with the Pilot and an Engineer on board. According to the Pilot, a few minutes after departing Calabar for Port Harcourt, the transmission chip detector indication was noticed at a location close to Gitto Uyo Site. The pilot made a radio call to Eket of the intention to divert to Uyo due technical1. On landing at Gitto site, Uyo, the Maintenance Engineer reported that maintenance inspection was carried out on the transmission oil system; the three chip detector plugs on the transmission were checked and found satisfactory. Furthermore, an engine ground run was carried out and all indications were found normal.
The Pilot decided to continue the flight from Uyo to Port Harcourt. Less than five minutes after take-off, the engine chip detector indication came on and about thirty seconds after, the engine oil pressure showed zero. The Pilot decided to make an air return but could not make it to the Helipad as there was a ‘bang’ from the engine and the aircraft dropped uncontrolled to the ground and crashed. There was post-crash fire.
The Engineer sustained minor injury and was treated and discharged from the same hospital in Port Harcourt.