Barely three months after the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) lost one of fighter pilot in crash in Abuja, the force has announced the death of two of its pilots alongside three crew members in a helicopter crash on Wednesday night.
The fighter helicopter, an Mi-35M, crashed while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion, Damasak in Borno State.
NAF Spokesman, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, gave the names of the deceased personnel as Flight Lieutenant Perowei Jacob, pilot in command; Flight Lieutenant Kaltho Paul Kilyofas, co-pilot; Sergeant Auwal Ibrahim, flight technician; Lance Corporal Adamu Nura, gunner and Aircraftman Meshack Ishmael, gunner.
Daramola in a statement said: “It is with a heavy heart that I announce the death of the five crew members who were on board the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Mi-35M helicopter which crashed in combat yesterday, January 2, 2019, while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion, Damasak in Borno State.”
He said the bodies of the deceased personnel had been recovered and taken to Maiduguri.
“These gallant, fallen heroes made the supreme sacrifice in the service of our fatherland, for which the NAF, and indeed the entire nation, owe them an unending debt of gratitude.
“The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on behalf of all officers, airmen, airwomen and civilian staff of the NAF, commiserates with the families of the five fallen heroes and prays that the Almighty grants their souls peaceful repose.
“The CAS was in Maiduguri today, January 3, 2019, to convey the condolences of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, to the personnel of the Air Task Force Operation LAFIYA DOLE over the unfortunate loss. “While in Maiduguri, the CAS also received a condolence visit from the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai.
“The NAF appreciates the overwhelming support shown by the general public to the service over the sad incident. We continue to solicit your understanding and support as we daily strive to ensure the security of Nigeria and Nigerians.”