ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — The helicopter of Nigeria’s vice president crash-landed on its side on Saturday but he and the crew were unscathed, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said.
“We are safe and sound!” Osinbajo tweeted after the crash in Kabba in Kogi state, saying the crew managed the situation well. He linked to a video of himself later waving to supporters as campaigning ahead of the Feb. 16 presidential election keeps the top candidates on the road.
The vice president later told a crowd that “we are extremely grateful to the Lord for preserving our lives,” spokesman Laolu Akande tweeted, thanking God and the flight crew.
Local media outlet Sahara Reporters published photos of the upturned helicopter, its rotor blades smashed. Other local media published footage , shot with a mobile phone, showing passengers carefully emerging and being helped down into a waiting crowd at the dusty scene.
The Lagos-based Caverton Helicopters company in a statement blamed “unusual weather conditions” and said an investigation had begun.
The crash at least briefly united Nigeria’s top two political parties in concern after heated campaigns laced with accusations.
Rival presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar told the vice president he was “happy to note” that everyone was safe.
“May the Almighty protect all of us in this season,” his running mate, Peter Obi, tweeted.
President Muhammadu Buhari is seeking a second term at the head of Africa’s most populous country and top oil producer.