By Raphael Ekpang
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has released names of the seven personnel that died in the air crash involving a NAF aircraft, Beechcraft KingAir BB305i.
The deceased officers include: Flight Lieutenant Haruna Gadzama (Captain); Flight Lieutenant Henry Piyo (Co-Pilot); Flying Officer Micheal Okpara (Airborne Tactical Observation System (ATOS) Specialist) and Warrant Officer Bassey Etim (ATOS Specialist).
Others were: Flight Sergeant Olasunkanmi Olawunmi (ATOS Specialist); Sergeant Ugochukwu Oluka (ATOS Specialist) and Aircraftman Adewale Johnson (Onboard Technician).
A statement by the Director Public Relations and Information Nigerian Air Force, Air Vice Marshal Ibikunle Daramola, reads: “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 enroute 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 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”.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has mourned the demise of seven Air Force Personnel involved in Military Aircraft Crash while calling on the authority to carry out a thorough investigation into the incident.
In a statement by Sen. John J. Akpan Udoedehe, the National Secretary Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of APC said members of the ruling party are deeply saddened by the Sunday’s crash of a military aircraft Beechcraft KingAir B350i at the Abuja airport.
According to the statement, “The unfortunate and fatal plane crash brings to fore the tireless work, sacrifices and hazards faced by our armed forces and other security services in their daily efforts to keep the country safe. As directed by the Chief of Air Staff, we are confident of a quick and thorough investigation into the plane crash.
“We extend our condolences to the Nigerian Air Force, particularly the families, loved ones and colleagues of the seven Air Force personnel that lost their lives in Sunday’s plane crash following a reported engine failure. May their souls rest in peace,” the statement reads.