How NAF pilot died in Abuja jet crash
Two jets belonging to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) rehearsing a display slated for the upcoming Independence Day celebration were involved in an accident, and crashed yesterday in Abuja. One died, while two were injured. The crash occurred on the hills along Kubwa Expressway, behind Sheme Filling Station, a few kilometres from Aso Rock Villa, the nation’s seat of power. A reliable eyewitness told
Daily Trust Saturday that the aircraft were rehearsing a routine, which included six F-7Ni jets flanking a larger one, which he said was a C-130.
“Part of the routine was for the six jets, 3 on each side of the C-130, to bank away in opposite directions. It was in the process of banking, that two of the ones on the right brushed each other, and began to tumble,” the eyewitness narrated. “Both jets hurtled downwards, and the pilots ejected successfully,” he said. The NAF’s Director
of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola swiftly released a statement that said “Thankfully, no lives were lost,” and that details will be communicated later. A second statement and update soon followed, in which the spokesman said: “It is with a heavy heart that I regretfully announce that one of the pilots who successfully ejected from one of the F-7Ni aircraft that crashed earlier today has passed on.” NAF sources informed
Daily Trust Saturday that the lone death recorded in the incident occured due to a malfunctioned ejector seat. The late pilot, Squadron Leader BM Baba’ari, of the 55th Regular Course, whose unit is the 101 ADG in Makurdi, Benue State, was buried yesterday evening according to Islamic rites, in Abuja. He is survived by a wife and children. At the scene, Daily Trust
Saturday observed several military rescue vehicles and an ambulance evacuating the two injured pilots. Commuters and pedestrians joined locals to throng the area, which was restricted by NAF personnel, police, officials of the National Emergency Management Agency, the Fire Service, and Federal Road Safety Corps.
Other eyewitnesses around the scene told Daily
Trust Saturday that the aircraft were seen struggling from Gwarimpa axis, before finally crashing. An eyewitness, who gave his name as Mr. Emmanuel Adams O. Aliyu, said it was clear the pilots struggled with their jets from Gwarimpa, to ensure they were in an unpopulated area before ejecting, in order to save lives. “Honestly, I see them as heroes,” he said.
Wreckage of one of the jets PHOTOS:
Late Squadron Leader Baba’ari