Officials of the Lagos State and the Federal Government on Thursday caused panic in the Oworonshoki area of the state during a simulation of a plane crash in the area.
The exercise was meant to assess preparedness on the part of emergency agencies in handling disasters.
But as residents saw a plane plunged into the Lagoon, there was pandemonium as they thought the crash was real. Many of them ran towards the plane in a bid to save “trapped victims.”
The government, it was learnt, did not inform the community before the exercise. It will be recalled that a Bristow helicopter with 12 persons on board had crashed in the area on August 12, 2015, killing six people, including the pilot.
The residents said the simulation looked real and was a sad reminder of the August 2015 crash. A resident, Bola Oluwadare, said it took him some minutes to know that the crash was an exercise, adding that residents were caught unawares.
He said, “I was dressing up around 11.30am when I heard people shouting that plane had crashed again. I ran out to see what was happening. It was after the emergency agencies arrived that we knew it was an exercise.”
A shop owner in the area, Tajudeen Olagunju, said the scare created by the simulation caused many people to abandon their shops.
“I thought it was a repeat of the August 15 incident and so did most of us. I think the agencies did not inform us so that it would look real,” he said.
The GM of LASEMA, Michael Akindele, said the exercise would also assist in areas such as coordination, response time, capacity building and the use of equipment and personnel during emergencies.