Behind every cloud, they say, there is a silver lining. The death of six passengers from the helicopter that crashed into the lagoon in Lagos on Wednesday no doubt threw the families of the deceased passengers into deep mourning. But the families of the six survivors of the crash must also have been gone into wild jubilation after learning of the survival of their loved ones. Talk about different strokes for different folks.
But the families of the survivor passengers are not the ones that are thanking their stars. Also celebrating their close shave with death are more than 30 members of a church whose building the helicopter miraculously avoided crashing into. The Nation gathered that at about 3 pm when the crash occurred on Wednesday, no fewer than 30 worshippers were gathered inside the Celestial Church of Christ on Alonge Street, Oworoshonki in Kosofe Local Government Area, Lagos State for a prayer session.
Unknown to the worshippers, the helicopter which had 12 people, including the crew members, on board had only missed crashing into their church by a whisker. Their attention was drawn to a loud noise as the helicopter plunged into the lagoon behind their church, but they had no idea how lucky they had been until they came out to be told by eyewitnesses that the chopper’s pilot only miraculously avoided crashing into their church.
The Shepherd of the church, Superior Prophet Adegbenga Adeniyi, who was inside the mission house, a bungalow attached to the building, when the chopper crashed, said he was alerted by the noise from some people behind the church.
He said: “One of our sisters at the backyard was the one who shouted my name, saying that a helicopter had crashed into the water. I didn’t believe it at first because I thought it was impossible for that to happen. At first, I thought how could a helicopter fall into the lagoon?
“I have heard of plane crashes before, but I have not witnessed this kind of accident. After that, I heard that sand dredgers by the shore of the Lagoon had rescued two of the victims.
“The first two people brought out were still alive, but they also brought two dead bodies out of the Lagoon. It was after this that the Area Commander of the police and some others entered a white boat and went far into the lagoon.
“But you know that if the chopper (helicopter) had crashed into the church, I really don’t know what would have happened. As at that time, we had more than 30 worshippers inside the auditorium praying. We thank God that He spared all of us from any calamity.
“We also thank God that our building was saved. What we would have been saying today would have been a different story.
“I was inside when the thing happened. But the person at the back of the house knew what happened. Assuming the chopper crashed into the building, many things would have been destroyed.”
Another worshipper who witnessed the crash said she was at the back of the church building where the chopper was roving before it finally crashed into the lagoon.