Tropical Arctic Logistics Limited, the helicopter operator that caused a stir when it stopped in the middle of the Benin-Ore Expressway to airlift a passenger, said its operations were in line with standard procedure.
It added that the helicopter landed on the ever busy road for medical services to save a life.
The chopper company said it got approval from the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), which endorsed the clearance for the flight, saying it did not breach any aviation regulation in its bid to conduct life-saving operations in collaboration with Flying Doctors.
Flying Doctors Nigeria (FDN) specializes in air ambulance, medevac, remote site medical solutions, and infrastructural development and training.
Briefing reporters at the airline’s headquarters at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, its Chief Operating Officer, Femi Adeniji, an aircraft engineer, said the company was yet to receive any queries or communication from Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) concerning the flight.
Adeniji said the company was surprised at the undue outrage over reportage when TAL helicopter was only involved in operations already gaining global traction.
He clarified 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 clear portion of the road where the operation was handled free from any incident.”
A video had gone viral on social media of a Nigerian who was stuck in a gridlock on Lagos-Benin Expressway for several hours on Sunday, and called a helicopter to pick him.
The unnamed man was subsequently airlifted out of a soul-cringing stressful environment owing to a bumper-to-bumper traffic snarl that lasted for more than two hours on the busy expresswa.