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Unknown Helicopter Impounded in Monrovia

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With less than four days to the conduct of legislative and presidential elections, an unknown helicopter has been impounded at the James Spriggs Payne Airport in Sinkor, Monrovia.

Liberia Civil Aviation Authority head, Archie Richelieu Williams, told a news conference Thursday at the  head office of the LCAA in  Monrovia,  that the helicopter marked “Eurocopter with trade number: AS350-B2” came from Europe, said to be here on the order of  AcelorMittal.

According to him, the arrival of the chopper here has created serious attention and tension within the corridor of LCAA, but assured that investigations are ongoing, adding “Three persons, including the operator were the only people onboard.”  

He said when the management of ArcelorMittal was contacted; it denied having link with the helicopter as the company was not expecting any flight to Liberia.

With the statement from the American-India Company, the LCAA immediately ordered the helicopter to be impounded, while investigation continues. Mr. Williams furthered that before an airline or aircraft enters Liberia’s airspace, the LCAA should be aware, but this was not done.

The said such violation under the aviation law is punishable with a fine of US$200,000. At the same time, the LCAA has denied reports of receiving any communication from the National Democratic Coalition (NDC) of Ambassador Dew Mayson about bringing a helicopter for campaign.

Mr. Williams termed the reports from the NDC as false and misleading with the intent to gain ‘political relevance’. “Melting this institution with politics and campaign activities, we think is an insult and deformation of image of the LCAA”, he said.

Mr. Williams noted that for one to have access to the aviation of the country, he should apply three weeks ahead for proper inspection of the flight and all requisite mechanism to be placed.

“Airplanes business is like car; any mistake, lives and properties will be destroyed internationally and that’s how it is done all over the world”, he said.

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