The Nigerian Air Force said five of its men died in the helicopter crash that occurred in Damasak in northern Borno on Wednesday, 2 January 2019.
The crash occurred while the helicopter was being used in combat to provide air support to troops of 145 Battalion against the ragtag Boko Haram fighters.
The pilot of the Russian-made Mi-35M helicopter, Flt. Lt Pereowei Jacob and co-pilot Kaltho Paul Kilyofas died in the crash, along with three other men, the spokesman of NAF, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, said.
The other victims of the crash were Sergeant Auwal Ibrahim, a Flight Technician, two gunners Lance Corporal Adamu Nura and Aircraftman Meshack Ishmael.
Daramola said the remains of the gallant men had been recovered.
“These gallant fallen heroes made the supreme sacrifice in the service of our Fatherland, for which the NAF, and indeed the entire Nation, owe them an unending debt of gratitude,” Daramola said on Thursday, 3 January 2019.
“The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on behalf all officers, airmen, airwomen and civilian staff of the NAF, commiserates with the families of the five fallen heroes and prays that the Almighty grants their souls peaceful repose.”
“The CAS was in Maiduguri today, 3 January, 2019, to convey the condolences of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, to the personnel of the Air Task Force Operation LAFIYA DOLE over the unfortunate loss.”
“While in Maiduguri, the CAS also received a condolence visit from the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai.”
“The NAF appreciates the overwhelming support shown by the general public to the Service over the sad incident. We continue to solicit your understanding and support as we daily strive to ensure the security of Nigeria and Nigerians,” he said.