BREAKING: NAF aircraft crashes in Benue

A fighter jet belonging to the Nigerian Air Force on Friday crashed in Makurdi, Benue State capital, The PUNCH has learnt.

Details about the incident are still sketchy as of the time of filing this report.

A military source said two personnel of the Nigerian Air Force onboard ejected unhurt.

The source said, “An FT7-NI aircraft crashed today in Makurdi. The cause of the crash could not be immediately ascertained. It had two Airmen onboard. They ejected unhurt from the jet.”

The spokesperson for the service, Air Commodore, Edward Gabkwet, confirmed the incident in a statement issued on Friday.

He said the crash occurred during training, adding that the pilots are ”under observation” at the NAF Base hospital.

Gabkwet, however, said the Chief of Air Staff had instituted a board to investigate the crash cause.

The statement read, “A Nigerian Air Force FT-7NI trainer aircraft crashed today, 14 July 2023 at about 4.15 pm in Makurdi, Benue State, while on a routine training exercise. Luckily, the 2 pilots on board survived the crash after successfully ejecting from the aircraft. Additionally, there were no deaths or damages in the impact area.

“Both pilots are currently under observation at NAF Base Hospital, Makurdi. Meanwhile, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Hasan Abubakar, has constituted a Board of Inquiry to determine the immediate and remote causes of the crash.”

The PUNCH reports that in February 2023, the Air Force jet lost its tyre mid-air and made an emergency landing at Lagos Airport on its belly with no casualty recorded.

Also, in April 2022, a trainer aircraft crashed in Kaduna, killing two pilots on board.

(Punch)