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Yemi Osinbajo helicopter crash: Nigeria’s VP thanks crew

Twelve people were on board the helicopter when it crashed near Kabba Township Stadium. /COURTESY

Nigeria’s vice-president has said he is “safe and sound” after surviving a helicopter crash as he was on his way to an election campaign rally.

Yemi Osinbajo also tweeted his thanks to the crew of the aircraft for the way they handled the situation in the central town of Kabba.

He and President Muhammadu Buhari are seeking re-election on February 16.

Buhari’s main rival, Atiku Abubakar, tweeted his relief that the vice-president and his team were unhurt .

After the crash on Saturday afternoon, Osinbajo, 61, continued on the campaign trail for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party, tweeting footage from a bus of him waving at the crowds.

@ProOsinbajo said, “We are safe and sound! Thank you to everyone who has expressed concern and thank you to the crew who managed the situation well. We believe that God will continue to keep us and Nigeria safe even as we go higher. We continue #NextLevelEngagements in Kabba, Kogi State.”

Earlier, one of his aides posted a video showing people rushing to help at the crash site in Kogi state. Twelve people were on board the aircraft when it came down.

An investigation into the cause of the crash has been launched.

Caverton Helicopters, the company that owned the aircraft that crashed, said no-one was hurt in the incident and blamed “unusual weather conditions” , according a statement quoted by local media.

Eyewitnesses say dust thrown up as the helicopter approached to land by the Kabba Township Stadium may have impaired the pilot’s visibility. Some say one of the rotor blades detached from the mast as it was coming down.

Mr Osinbajo, who is the pastor in charge of Lagos’s Redeemed Christian Church of God and a former law professor, has proved a popular vice-president.

Correspondents say he is eloquent, unassuming and hardworking – and he has been admired for the way he has deputised for the 76-year-old president, who has suffered bouts of ill health over the last four years.

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