UN helicopter crashes in Liberia

A UN helicopter Tuesday crashed in Monrovia, Liberia leaving the pilot critically injured.

The pilot who sustained severe bodily wounds and nine other persons onboard the UN Helicopter 22426 survived the crash which took place at the Thinkers’ Village 20 minutes after it took off from the James Springs Airfield in Monrovia.

The cause of the crash is still unknown, but survivors suspected that the accident occurred as a result of an engine failure.

“We took off this morning from the Springs field at about 11:47 am. We were heading for Barclayville when we started experiencing an unseal sound from the helicopter. Fifteen minutes after taking off, we noticed that the helicopter engine was off. Minutes later, the pilot signaled to the co-pilot and we saw the pilot struggling hard to land,” said Mitchell Green, one of the survivors.

“We were already over the ocean but through the grace of God, he fought hard and brought us back inland and forcefully landed on a zinc house. The Co-pilot told everyone to find his or way out of the helicopter. That’s how we got out”

“I was terribly afraid, and I don’t know how it all happened. I only saw it happening. I am confused. But I thank God that we survived” Grace Nyemah, another survivor added.

The rest of the helicopter’s crew are also said to be in hospital receiving urgent medical examination to determine if there was any injury sustained as a result of the crash.

Aviation authorities on the scene of the crash could not speak to journalists on grounds that the incident is still undergoing investigation, and that it was too early to determine the exact cause of the crash.

Story & photo: Peter N. Toby