Two pilots of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF), have been killed in the NAF fighter aircraft that crashed while on a mission against the Boko Haram insurgents in Borno state.
The NAF had on Thursday, raised the alarm that its Alpha- Jet aircraft on mission in Borno state was missing.
It disclosed that at about 5:08 pm on 31 March 2021, the Alpha-Jet lost contact with radar in Borno State, while on interdiction mission in support of ground troops.
The mission, the NAF said, was part of the ongoing counterinsurgency operations in the North East.
Regrettably,, on Friday, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, Director of Public Relations and Information, (DOPRI), in an update released in Abuja, confirmed that the fighter aircraft had crashed killing all two crew members on board.
“Intelligence report gathered by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) indicates that the Alpha Jet aircraft (NAF475) that went off the radar with 2 crew members on board on 31 March 2021 might have crashed.
“The cause of the crash as well as the whereabouts of the 2 pilots remain unknown. The pilots are Flight Lieutenant John Abolarinwa and Flight Lieutenant Ebiakpo Chapele.
“Extensive search and rescue efforts are still ongoing by NAF surveillance aircraft as well as NAF Special Forces and Nigerian Army troops on ground”, Gabkwet stated.
He added that at this point, the NAF was not ruling out anything regarding the incident, as it remained very hopeful that the crew would soon be found and rescued.
If the said intelligence by the NAF on the missing air craft eventually becomes true, this would be the second aircraft that crashed, killing all crew members on board, in less than two months, since Air Marshal Oladayo Amao became Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) in about three months ago.
Only about two months ago, a NAF air craft on mission to rescue abducted school children in Niger state, crashed in Abuja, killing all seven personnel on board.