The erstwhile Accident Investigation and Prevention Bureau (AIPB) received notification of the accident on the 26th of July 2004. Investigators were dispatched to the site on 28th of July 2004. All other stakeholders were notified.
On 25th July, 2004 at about 24:00hrs, a Bell 412 EP helicopter with registration 5N-BDZ operated by Pan African Airlines Nigeria Limited, departed Port Harcourt on a medical evacuation flight to SEDCO Energy Rig platform with a reported visibility of 100m in fog. The helicopter landed at SEDCO Rig platform at 01:15hrs and commenced refuelling but was unable to lift the required amount of fuel due to a defective fuel dispenser on the Rig. The helicopter departed SEDCO Rig Platform with two crew members, one patient and one medical attendant, with a plan to make a technical stop in Funiwa to refuel before proceeding to Port Harcourt.
Less than five minutes after the helicopter lifted off from SEDCO Energy Platform, the radio operator received a brief and unclear message from the helicopter. The radio operator tried to establish contact with the helicopter but there was no response. Relevant agencies were immediately notified, and a search and rescue mission launched by Chevron Nigeria Limited, Pan Ocean Limited, and Pan African Airlines.
The estimated time of the accident was 02:30hrs.