Disaster struck Thursday when a helicopter carrying eight people crashed into the sea, about 20 nautical miles off the coast of Takoradi, killing four of them.
As of the time of filing this report, the identities of the casualties were yet to be established, while one other person was still missing.
Unconfirmed reports had it that those on board the aircraft included Ghanaians, Britons, Nigerians and French.
Four members of the crew were rescued by the Ghana Navy, with support from the oil companies operating in Ghana.
The passengers were being transported to the Reon Jack, a new oil rig contracted by Lukoil that had arrived in the country to commence appraisal and development of the oil discoveries made in 2011. Take off and arrival time
According to sources, the aircraft took off from the Takoradi Airport on the 15-minute flight to the rig about 12:57 p.m. and was expected to arrive on the Reon Jack at exactly 1:10 p.m.
They, however, said the aircraft failed to arrive at its destination at the expected time.
Two hours later, a search party discovered the first wreck off the coast and communicated that to the control tower at the airport and called for a search party.
Those on board the aircraft were six professionals assigned to work on the rig and two pilots. Discovery
According to the sources, Lukoil and Vanco Oil made a discovery in 2011 and were working together as partners, with Vanco Oil as the lead operator.
After the discovery in 2011, the partners returned to the country last Wednesday to commerce appraisal and development of the wells, after several operations in neighbouring West African countries.
Thursday’s flight happened to be the first to the rig, which had arrived in the country last Wednesday to commerce its operations. Search party
A team from the Ghana Navy with two ships, with support from two additional boats from Lukoil and Tullow Oil Ghana, were still on search operations as of the time of filling this report.
Preliminary investigations, according to the sources, indicated that the crash could be due to the bad weather which Takoradi experienced yesterday. History of plane crashes
Ghana has recorded very few air crashes.
On May 8, 1997, a Ghana Air Force jet which had escorted then President Jerry John Rawlings’s aircraft on his return from Botswana crashed into a nearby bush off the main runway at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), killing the pilot.
On June 5, 2000, a Fokker 27 aircraft on a normal domestic flight from Tamale to Accra with 52 passengers and crew on board crashed at the threshold of the KIA on landing, killing six of the passengers instantly.
About 7.10 p.m. on Saturday, June 2, 2012, a Boeing 727-200 cargo plane which had taken off from Lagos, Nigeria, and carrying general goods to Cote d’Ivoire via Accra rammed into a Benz bus, with registration GE 5471 Z, on the 37 Military Hospital-Burma Camp road.
The aircraft overshot the runway on landing and went through the airport perimeter fence before crashing into the bus, instantly killing all 10 passengers on board, including the driver.
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