By Lawrence Audu
A Nigerian Air Force (NAF) MI-35P helicopter crashed in Port Harcourt today, December 1, 2023, at approximately 7:45 am.
The unfortunate incident occurred shortly after the aircraft took off for an operation against economic saboteurs in Rivers State. Fortunately, all five crew members survived the crash with only minor injuries and are currently receiving medical attention at the NAF Medical Centre in Port Harcourt.
Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, the Director of Public Relations and Information for the Nigerian Air Force, who released a statement regarding the incident said, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, is en route to Port Harcourt to assess the situation, ensure the well-being of the crew, and provide further directives. The incident serves as a stark reminder of the inherent dangers associated with military flying and the risks that NAF pilots and technicians face in their critical roles of defending the nation and deterring criminal elements from their illicit activities.
“Today’s crash is a sobering reminder of the perils our military personnel face in the line of duty.
“We are thankful that the crew survived with minor injuries, and we are committed to providing them with the necessary care and support during this challenging time.” said Gabkwet.
The NAF has initiated an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash to determine the cause and prevent similar incidents in the future. The safety of NAF personnel and the integrity of their operations remain top priorities for the Nigerian Air Force.
As details continue to emerge, the NAF is working diligently to ensure the well-being of the crew and to address any operational implications resulting from the helicopter crash. The NAF’s commitment to upholding the safety and security of its personnel and the nation at large remains unwavering in the aftermath of this unfortunate event.