A Nigerian Air Force (NAF) MI-35P helicopter crash-landed and exploded at the NAF Base in Port Harcourt, creating a dramatic scene. The incident, which took place around 7.50 am, has prompted concerns about the cause of the crash.
Eyewitnesses reported hearing a thunderous sound, followed by a thick flame at the NAF Base. The exact circumstances leading to the crash remain unclear, and the immediate vicinity has been cordoned off for safety reasons.
According to a source, “I was inside my apartment when I heard this thunderous sound at the NAF Base. The next thing I saw was a thick flame. I don’t know if there are casualties because I can’t go close to the scene for now. But I heard a blast twice.”
Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, the NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, confirmed the crash in an official statement. The MI-35P helicopter was reportedly on an operation against oil thieves in Rivers State when the unfortunate incident occurred.
Fortunately, all five persons on board survived the crash with minor injuries. They are currently receiving medical attention at the NAF Medical Centre in Port Harcourt. The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, is en route to Port Harcourt to assess the situation, attend to the crew’s well-being, and provide further directives.
The statement emphasized the inherent risks associated with military flying, acknowledging the challenges NAF pilots and technicians face in their commitment to defending the nation and thwarting criminal activities.
This incident serves as a stark reminder of the perils involved in military operations and underscores the courage of those dedicated to safeguarding the nation. Further investigations will be carried out to determine the exact cause of the crash.