The Nigerian Air Force, NAF, said five of its personnel died in Wednesday’s helicopter which crashed in combat against Boko Haram in Borno State.
There was no survivor in the crash as the pilot, co-pilot and three crew members all died.
A statement by Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, Director of Public Relations and Information of the Nigerian Air Force, yesterday, confirmed the development. NAF said bodies of the deceased had been recovered and taken to Maiduguri, the state capital. Following the development, Chief of Air Staff, Air Mashal Sadique Abubakar, who flew to Maiduguri early yesterday, has commiserated with the families of the five fallen heroes and prayed that the “Almighty grants their souls peaceful repose.”
According to NAF, the helicopter, an Mi-35M, crashed in combat while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion, Damasak, in Borno State.
The NAF statement read: “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, (Wednesday), January 2, 2019, while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion, Damasak in Borno State.
“The deceased personnel, whose remains have been recovered 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,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 owe 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 commiserates with the families of the five fallen heroes and pray that the Almighty grants their souls peaceful repose.
“The Chief of Air Staff was in Maiduguri today (yesterday), January 3, 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 CAS also received a condolence visit from the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai.
“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.”