Agaju Madugba, Katsina
A Nigeria Air Force (NAF) helicopter fighting insurgency and banditry in parts of the North West crash-landed at the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua International Airport yesterday afternoon.
Reports said no lives were lost as the officers on board were able to exit the aircraft which caught fire moments after the crash.
A witness’ accounts said that the helicopter had taken off at about 2.30 pm from the airport but returned about an hour later, apparently having developed a fault mid-air, during its combat mission.
“The moment it managed to land, the officers on board escaped and the entire aircraft went up in flames,” one of the witnesses said.
Confirming the incident in a press statement, the NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Ibikunle Daramola, said that the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, had directed an immediate constitution of a Board of Inquiry to determine the exact cause of the incident. The statement said: “A Nigerian Air Force (NAF) helicopter has crashed in the process of landing, while returning from an anti-armed banditry combat mission in the North West theatre under Operation HADARAN DAJI.
“Details of the cause of the incident, which occurred at the Katsina Airport at about 3.30pm today (Wednesday), 12 June 2019, are still scanty. However, there was no loss of life, either of persons on board the helicopter or on the ground.
“The NAF continues to solicit the understanding and support of the general public as it daily strives to ensure the security of Nigeria and Nigerians.”