7 Officers Die As NAF Plane Crashes In Abuja On Mission To Rescue Kagara Abductees

Seven officers of the Nigerian Air Force died when a military aircraft, NAF Beechcraft King Air B350, crashed on Sunday in Abuja after suffering an engine failure.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, while confirming the incident via his Twitter handle, said the plane crashed “short of our Abuja runway after reporting engine failure en route Minna.”

The Nigerian Air Force said the aircraft crashed while returning to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, after reporting engine failure en-route Minna where it was scheduled to conduct surveillance missions over Niger State and its environs to secure the release of the students and staff abducted last week from the Government Science College Kagara, Niger State.

NAF spokesperson, Ibikunle Daramola, in a statement, said the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao, had ordered an immediate investigation into the incident.

“Sadly, all 7 personnel on board died in the crash. While urging the general public to remain calm and await the outcome of the investigation, the CAS, on behalf of all NAF personnel, commiserates with the families of the deceased,” he said.

NAF names deceased officers

Daramola named the deceased officers as Flight Lieutenant Haruna Gadzama (Captain), Flight Lieutenant Henry Piyo (Co-Pilot), Flying Officer Micheal Okpara (Airborne Tactical Observation System (ATOS) Specialist), Warrant Officer Bassey Etim (ATOS Specialist), Flight Sergeant Olasunkanmi Olawunmi (ATOS Specialist), Sergeant Ugochukwu Oluka (ATOS Specialist) and Aircraftman Adewale Johnson (Onboard Technician).

He said “The Nigerian Air Force (NAF), earlier today, 21 February 2021, confirmed that one of its aircraft, a Beechcraft KingAir B350i (NAF 201), crashed while returning to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja after reporting engine failure en-route Minna, where it was scheduled to conduct surveillance missions over Niger State and its environs in connection with the concerted efforts to secure the release of the students/staff abducted from the Government Science College Kagara, Niger State.

“As earlier stated, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao, has instituted an investigative panel to determine the remote and immediate causes of the accident.

“While the panel has commenced its work, the NAF, having notified the Next of Kins/family members of the deceased, regretfully announces that the following seven personnel lost their lives in the crash”.

It added: “Earlier, the CAS visited the scene of the accident, in the company of the Honourable Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retired); Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika; Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Lucky Irabor, and other Service Chiefs.

“The CAS, on behalf of officers, airmen and airwomen of the NAF, once more commiserates with the families of the deceased personnel and prays that the Almighty God grants their souls eternal repose”.

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