Paramount Airlines Mil Mi-8 at Freetown Lungi Airport
|Fleet size||Mil Mi-8|
|Destinations||Freetown, Sierra Leone, Lungi International Airport, Abuja, Nigeria|
Paramount Airlines is an aviation company in Sierra Leone that used to provide a helicopter service between the capital, Freetown, and Lungi International Airport as well as other cities within the country.
Lungi airport lies across the Sierra Leone river from Freetown, which means that helicopter, hovercraft, and sea ferry are the only practical ways to travel between the airport and the capital, unless one travels via a three hour roadtrip.
Paramount Airlines also flew helicopters to other places within West Africa including Abuja, Nigeria. Flights were grounded by the Sierra Leone government for safety reasons in 2007 after a flight from the capital Freetown crashed on landing at the Lungi International Airport, killing all 22 people on board.
On June 3, 2007, a helicopter flight from Freetown crashed on landing at Lungi airport, killing all 22 people on board. 19 of the victims were supporters of the Togo national football team, including Togo's Minister of Sport, Richard Attipoé; the fans had been in Sierra Leone to attend a qualifier for the African Cup of Nations, which Togo had won 1-0. The two pilots were of Ukrainian origin. The passengers had chartered the aircraft specifically for the flight.
According to an eyewitness, both pilots jumped out immediately prior to the crash. Later reports stated that 22 were killed, and that the Russian copilot was the only survivor. The aircraft caught fire upon impact and was destroyed before firefighters were able to extinguish the flames.
The government of Togo sent a six-person delegation to help with the investigation into the crash. The majority of the dead were identified as Togolese football fans who had come to cheer their team's 1–0 victory over Sierra Leone at an African Cup of Nations qualifying match on Sunday. They included Togolese politician Richard Attipoe who was serving as Togo's minister of sports.
- Crash in Sierra Leone kills at least 20. Macon.com. Published 3 June 2007. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
- "Sierra Leone axes transport director". IOL News. June 5, 2007.
- Doyle, Mark (March 22, 2006). "Africa relies on EU-banned planes". BBC News.
- This Is Sierra Leone. "Sierra Leone to compensate Togo victims of chopper crash victims". Retrieved 6 November 2016.
- Sierra Leone air crash kills 19 – BBC News – Published 4 June. Retrieved 7 June 2007.
- Togo awaiting report on Freetown helicopter crash. People's Daily. 31 July 2007.
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