Lukman Olabiyi, Lagos
Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Saturday visited the site of the helicopter crash at Salvation Road in Opebi area of the state, a day after the incident, to assess the damage of the crash.
Speaking to journalists after surveying the crash site and meeting with the owners of the affected buildings, the Governor promised that the State Government will carry out integrity tests on the buildings and make the necessary repairs and assist the affected families.
A Bell 206 helicopter belonging to Quorum Aviation had been flying in from Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, on Friday, with two crew members and a passenger, before it crashed in between two residential buildings in the Opebi at mid-day on August 28.
Governor Sanwo-Olu extended his sympathies to the families of the three people that lost their loved ones during the crash and prayed for their comfort.
‘I am here to do a real on the spot assessment and I have seen things for myself. We thank God that as painful as the incident might be, the damage was not beyond what we have witnessed. We are pained by the death of the three people on board but we thank God because it could have been worse than that. The affected buildings are residential homes that have citizens living there. As at the exact time the helicopter crash happened, a lot of people were not in the premises and even the elderly people that were around and in their rooms. But, as God would have it, nothing in term of fatality happened to people on the ground. So, we need to thank God. If not, fatality may have been a lot more than what we are talking about,’ the Governor said, addressing the gathering.
‘As you can see the people affected are senior citizens; they are people in their 80s and 70s that I have come to condole with and also thank God for them. We have seen the level of destruction and damages. Tests will be conducted to understand the integrity of the buildings and once that is ascertained today or tomorrow, we will start work with the federal agencies. We will start the reconstruction and renovation of the places affected by the crash; the rooms, walls, tents and ensure that we quickly bring respite to the senior citizens that have been affected.
‘From Monday, we will start rebuilding the damaged structure and also assist in any areas the owners of the buildings need our assistance. We will also assist the senior citizens wherever they need help. We know that the incident has had some impact on them. We will give them whatever support we can give them to reduce their psychological, physical and emotion hardship, which may have been caused by the incident. We would be doing that for them as a government. The whole essence of governance is to ensure that once your citizens are affected like this, government need to rise up.’
Governor Sanwo-Olu also commended all federal and state agencies for their quick response by moving to the site of the crash shortly after the helicopter crash. ‘I want commend all our frontline workers, all the emergency staff that turned up yesterday with citizens in the neigbourhood that turned out in large number to help,’ he remarked.
Residents of the helicopter crash site area thanked the Governor for his visit, also expressing gratitude to God that when the helicopter crashed there was no fuel in it.
The affected residents also prayed for the Governor, noting this was the first time something of his nature would happen and a sitting will make a quick response.
They also commended responsive State agencies for their quick response to and clearing of the crash site.