The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has confirmed that one of its helicopters, Agusta 109 Light Utility, while undertaking a liaison mission in the North East, suffered a technical mishap and crashed into a pool of water in Borno State yesterday.
The helicopter had earlier been reported to have got missing as it could not be located on the radar.
Though, no life was lost in the incident, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar has immediately constituted a board of inquiry to unravel the cause of the incident.
Director of Public Relations and Information of NAF, Air Commodore Olatokunbo Adesanya, said members of the board of inquiry were already in Maiduguri, to carry out their assignment.
The statement reads: “A Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Agusta 109 Light Utility Helicopter has suffered a mishap while undertaking a liaison mission targeted at further enhancing the synergy between the Nigerian Army and the NAF in the ongoing counter-insurgency operation in the North East.
“The experienced NAF pilots, however, successfully ditched the helicopter into a pool of water to minimize damage and loss of lives. “Consequently, there were neither any injuries nor loss of lives to anyone on board or on the ground. “The Chief of the Air Staff has immediately directed the constitution of a board of inquiry to determine the exact cause of the incidence while efforts are ongoing to recover the helicopter and members of the board are already in Maiduguri to commence work.”
Meanwhile, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) is set to probe the 2012 plane crash involving former Governor of Taraba State, Dambaba Suntai, and five others in Yola, Adamawa State.
The bureau Wednesday said all was set for the engine of the crashed private jet to be sent to its manufacturer in North America for “teardown.”
AIB Commissioner, Akin Olateru, attributed the delay in investigation to paucity of funds, preventing the shipment of the engine abroad for analysis since the crash occurred on October 25, 2012.
Olateru explained that the engine teardown was necessary to determine the state of the aircraft’s engine before the plane went down in Yola. Late Suntai and five of his aides were, on October 25, 2012, involved in an air crash after their private plane, Cessna 208 aircraft marked 5N-BMJ, crashed in Yola, Adamawa State capital.
Suntai, who did not recover from the severe crash injuries, died in Houston, Florida, in the United States on June 28, 2017. The late governor was said to be piloting the small aircraft at the time of the incident. Olateru added that the shipment of the engine for teardown was one of the processes of accident investigation, which the agency would carry out.
Meanwhile, former Chief of Army Staff, General Martin Luther Agwai has advocated for an all dominated infantry force in the Nigerian Army that would be able to tackle the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists in the northeast region.
The former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) at a lecture he delivered at the Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL), in Abuja, yesterday, said the time has come for the Nigerian Army to train all its personnel as infantry soldiers irrespective of their trades, saying that was the only way the Boko Haram terrorists would be wiped out.
He also called for adequate funding, modern equipment and training for Nigerian Armed Forces personnel. Agwai said: “My suggestion is that the Nigerian Army must be infantry dominated to fight the next war that we are fighting. They must be infantry dominated.’’