Seven persons were killed in a military aircraft that crashed a few yards off the runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja on Sunday.
Confirming the incident, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) spokesman, Air Vice Marshal Ibikunle Daramola stated that the Beechcraft KingAir B350i aircraft crashed while returning to Abuja Airport after reporting engine failure while en route Minna in Niger State.
Daramola said in the statement that the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal IO Amao, has ordered an immediate probe of the accident.
According to him, “This is to confirm that a Nigerian Air Force Beechcraft KingAir B350i aircraft crashed while returning to the Abuja Airport after reporting engine failure enroute Minna. First responders are at the scene. Sadly, all 7 personnel on board died in the crash.
“The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal IO Amao, has ordered an immediate investigation into the incident.
“While urging the general public to remain calm and await the outcome of investigation, the CAS, on behalf of all NAF personnel, commiserates with the families of the deceased.”
This is as the Accident Investigation Bureau said that it does not investigate military incidents or accidents except when invited.
General Manager, Public Affairs, AIB, Mr Tunji Oketunbi, said in a message reported by The PUNCH, that, “There was an accident involving a military aircraft. By the power established AIB-N, we do not investigate military incidents or accident except where invited.”
Meanwhile, many Nigerians on social media including former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and former Senate President Bukola Saraki have expressed condolences to the affected families and the Nigerian military.
Atiku said: “I have just learnt of the crash of a military aircraft near Abuja. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those onboard the ill-fated flight.”
Saraki, on his official twitter handle @bukolasaraki, said: “At this time, my prayers are with the Nigerian Air Force and the families and friends of the military personnel involved in today’s Beechcraft KingAir B350i plane crash.