Two peasant farmers, a septuagenarian, Pa Agboola Atanda and a 50-year-old Samuel Oyewole, were the first to see the crashed helicopter at the hilly side of the Government Reserved Forest in Ife-Odan, a boundary community between Ola-Oluwa and Ejigbo local government areas of Osun State.
According to the duo, they saw the chopper before the crash and the deafening sound that followed the mishap last Friday.
According to them, they ran away in fear, rather than alerting the police, who possibly would have initiated help for the victims. The farmers, out of ignorance, said they were afraid the police would hold them accountable for the crash. But the flames from the crashed helicopter forced the whole village with about 40 houses to start running helter- skelter, a development which eventually aroused the suspicion of motorists along the road leading to Iwo town.
However, it was learnt that the victims, the chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Josepdam Group of Companies, Mrs. Josephine Damilola Kuteji, a senior pastor with the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), her Personal Assistant, Mrs. Adedoyin Okubanjo and the Filipino pilot, Catameo Arnold, trapped in the ill-fated chopper were not likely to have been rescued alive even if help had come in good time. It was said that the impact of the crash was fatal because the chopper suddenly hit the tree on the mountainous hill and lost balance.
The head of the Disaster Management Unit of the Osun cammand of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Alhaji Olaniyi Babalola, blamed the crash on poor visibility caused by fog that enveloped Ikonifin community on that fateful day.
Babalola, and his team got to the scene of the crash around 1am the following day, more than 12 hours after the aircraft owned by Ogedengbe Air Services (OAS) had crashed.
They were later joined by sister agencies, including the National Emergency Mangement Agency (NEMA), the State Security Service (SSS), led by the state Director, Mr. Adeboye Olusegun, the Poilce, led by an Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. O. Henry and the Fire Services in Osun and Oyo states.
Segun Ajayi, an engineer and the director of Osun State Emergency Management Agency (OSEMA), said his team got to the scene shortly after the NSCDC team’s arrival. He said N49,000 cash and some foreign currencies, five cell phones, two of which belonged to the pilot, three bags containing personal belongings, including the Bible, a hymn book, anointing oil and some documents were recovered from the scene.