The Nigerian Air Force has announced the death of five crew members in an air mishap involving NAF MI-35M Helicopter in the north east while prosecuting the ongoing counter insurgency and counter terrorism operations.
Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola who announced the tragic incident in an update of the developing story on the air mishap, added that the NAF personnel died while providing air support to troops of 145 Battalion in Damasak, Borno state.
Daramola said, “It is with a heavy heart that I announce the death of the 5 crew members who were on board the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Mi-35M Helicopter which crashed in combat on 2 January 2019, while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion, Damasak in Borno State.”
He explained that the deceased personnel, whose remains have been recovered and moved to Maiduguri, are: “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.
“These gallant fallen heroes made the supreme sacrifice in the service of our Fatherland, for which the NAF, and indeed the entire Nation, owes them an unending debt of gratitude. The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on behalf all officers, airmen, airwomen and civilian staff of the NAF, commiserate with the families of the 5 fallen heroes and pray that the Almighty grants their souls peaceful repose.”
The Chief of Air Staff, Daramola added flew to Maiduguri yesterday, 3 January 2019, to convey the condolences of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammed Buhari, to personnel of the Air Task Force Operation Lafiya Dole over the unfortunate loss.
While in Maiduguri, the Chief of Air Staff also received a condolence visit from the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, Daramola said.
He said that the Nigerian Air Force appreciates the overwhelming support shown by the general public to the Service over the sad incident, concluding that “We continue to solicit your understanding and support as we daily strive to ensure the security of Nigeria and Nigerians.
Recall that the spokesperson in a statement on January 2 tagged ‘Nigerian Air Force Helicopter Lost in Combat’ announced the air mishap.
He said, “A Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Helicopter was lost in combat while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion at Damasak in Northern Borno State. The mission was part of the ongoing counterinsurgency operations in the North East.”
The ugly incident Daramola said occurred about 7:45 pm, 2 January 2019, lamenting that details of the cause of the crash were still scanty, while promising that “As soon as the details of the crash are known, they will be made available to the public.”