The Nigerian Air Force says two of its pilots and three other personnel aboard a military copter died on Wednesday when the aircraft crashed in combat with Boko Haram fighters in Borno state.
Concise News understands that the deceased personnel include Flight Lieutenant Perowei Jacob – pilot in command, and Flight Lieutenant Kaltho Paul Kilyofas – co-pilot.
Others are Sergeant Auwal Ibrahim – flight technician, Lance Corporal Adamu Nura – gunner, and Aircraftman Meshack Ishmael – gunner.
“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, 2 January 2019, while providing close air support to troops of 145 Battalion, Damasak in Borno State,” spokesman for the force, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, announced in a statement.
“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,” he said.
“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 prays that the Almighty grants their souls peaceful repose.”
The air force spokesman had earlier informed that the incident occurred at 7:45pm on Wednesday but said details of the crash were sketchy at the time.