Tropical Arctic Logistics Limited (TAL), a company operating helicopter services, has said that a man who was picked up by its helicopter in the middle of a huge traffic jam along Benin-Ore road was sick and needed urgent medical attention.
The video from the Sunday incident posted on the social media had spread like a wildfire, with many who in their comments condemned the action, saying it was a show of affluence by a billionaire believed to have called the helicopter to escape the four-hour long traffic jam.
However, four days after the helicopter landed on the Benin-Ore expressway, the company that operated the flight, Tropical Arctic Logistics Limited (TAL) has said that the chopper company got approval from the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) for the chopper to operate the flight.
The company at a world press conference on Thursday, while stating that the flight was conducted to save a sick person in conjunction with Flying Doctors, insisted that it did not violate aviation rules as it added that NAMA endorsed the clearance for the flight to be operated.
Speaking on behalf of the helicopter of TAL at its headquarters at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, its Chief Operating Officer, Engineer Femi Adeniji said the company was yet to receive any memo from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority ( NCAA) concerning the flight.
Adeniji who said the company was surprised at the undue outrage the supposed commendable exercise generated, said the issue which was not peculiar to TAL was a global practice already gaining global traction.
While clarifying that the helicopter was never involved in any scheduled flight diversion, Adeniji said:
“We wish to state that our mission for that flight was to save lives, we immediately swung into action and rushed to the site in record time to pick the individual who is currently recuperating in the hospital.
“We are a licensed logistics company to carry out medical evacuation operations and was engaged to air lift an individual who suffered a serious health challenge while caught in traffic and needed emergency evacuation on the day in question.
“The Benin – Ore road evacuation was conducted in close collaboration with security agencies, the Nigerian Army and Nigerian Police worked assiduously in trying to clear the gridlock caused by the on going road construction. They directed us to a cleared portion of the road where the operation was handled free from any incident.”