The accident involving 5N–BFF belonging to PAN African Airlines Nigeria Limited was reported to Accident Investigation Bureau on 27th October, 2012 at about 1733hrs through its emergency telephone lines. All relevant authorities were notified. Two Investigators were subsequently dispatched to the crash site.
The Bell 206 L4 helicopter with registration number 5N-BFF was assigned to work with the South Operations Assistant for the Meji Shutdown and repair operations. At 1500hrs, after working for a while at Meji Field, the aircraft was deployed to work at Delta field. It landed at OKAN, refueled and proceeded to work at the field. Essentially, South Field Operations comprise OKAN Field, DELTA Field and MEJI Field.
The pilot made several landings on many helidecks within the Delta field and returned to OKAN production platform at about 1602hrs. The aircraft took off from the platform for final departure to Escravos base at about 1607hrs. The pilot stated that just as the aircraft took off and cleared the helideck, he noticed that the engine had stopped. He entered autorotation, promptly deployed the floats and made a precautionary ditching.
The aircraft landed hard on water following which the windscreen were completely shattered but the inflated floats kept the helicopter afloat on water. However, the centre float on the starboard side did not fully inflate causing the helicopter to tilt to the right. The three passengers and the pilot exited the aircraft through the left door unto the port floats assembly.
A supply boat which was working at the same platform at the time helped evacuate the passengers and crew into safety before it capsized.