The Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has commenced preliminary investigations into the cause of the helicopter crash at the West Cape Three Point in the Western Region yesterday 5th May 2014.
The service helicopter which was flying under the name Black Hawk and operated by Volta River Aviation Ltd was on contract with LUKOIL Overseas Ghana Limited.
Eight persons were on board the helicopter when the crash occurred.
4 persons survived the crash, 3 others died and one person is still missing.
5 of the 8 people on board the helicopter were Ghanaians the 3 others were a British, French and Nigerian.
The missing person is a Ghanaian.
One of the four surviving victims is in a critical condition and has been flown to Accra for further treatment.
“In the next hour we will be meeting with the survivors, three of them are ok, one flown to Accra, 37 military hospital he has been flown out for more intensive attention”, the director of air traffic service at GCAA Albert Taylor told Citi Business News.
A search and rescue mission comprising the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, Ghana Air Force, Ghana Navy, Tullow Oil and PHR helicopters are currently searching for the missing person.
According to the GCAA, there is no timeline for the search and rescue efforts.
Meanwhile the transport ministry is also expected to form an investigative committee to unearth the cause of the crash which is the first major accident in the oil industry since Ghana became an oil producing country.
Albert Taylor stated ‘So far one person is missing and according to our procedure that is the priority, the minister of transport will establish an independent committee to investigate what happened, and until the minister officially establishes that committee GCAA will start preliminary investigations”.
The transport minister is the only mandated authority to call time on the rescue effort as and when it becomes necessary.
Meanwhile the General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Worker’s union has told Citi business news three of the four rescued persons on board the crashed helicopter are workers of Schlumberger.
Speaking to Citi business news Deputy General Secretary of the General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Worker’s union Francis Sallah said,” the other three dead will mean there will be a Schlumberger staff amongst them”
“Can you imagine the oil service company, Schlumberger has failed to pay the risk allowance of Ghanaian workers”, he fumed.
The union has been involved in a 2 year long protracted salary and condition of service negotiation with the management of Schlumberger.
According to Francis Sallah the union is prepared to go for arbitration if the current mediation efforts at the national labour commission fail.
He said “Negotiation has gone to the mediation level. The risk issue that we keep talking about, for all those who must go and work on the rig, they are entitled to some allowances but Schlumberger does not want to pay, if we don’t arrive at a consensus we will go for arbitration”