The ill-fated military plane was scheduled to conduct surveillance missions over Niger State and its environs in connection with the concerted efforts to secure the release of the students/staff abducted from the Government Science College Kagara, Niger State.
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) spokesman, Air Vice Marshal Ibikunle Daramola stated this while giving an update on the Beechcraft KingAir B350i (NAF 201) that crashed while returning to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja after reporting engine failure enroute Minna, Niger State.
All seven persons on board died in the crash.
NAF identified the deceased as;
a. Flight Lieutenant Haruna Gadzama (Captain).
b. Flight Lieutenant Henry Piyo (Co-Pilot).
c. Flying Officer Micheal Okpara (Airborne Tactical Observation System (ATOS) Specialist).
d. Warrant Officer Bassey Etim (ATOS Specialist).
e. Flight Sergeant Olasunkanmi Olawunmi (ATOS Specialist).
f. Sergeant Ugochukwu Oluka (ATOS Specialist).
g. Aircraftman Adewale Johnson (Onboard Technician).
The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Vice Marshal Oladayo Amao has visited the scene of the accident, in the company of the Honourable Minister of Defence, Major General Bashir Magashi (retired); Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika; Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Lucky Irabor, and other Service Chiefs.
“The CAS, on behalf of officers, airmen and airwomen of the NAF, once more commiserates with the families of the deceased personnel and prays that the Almighty God grants their souls eternal repose.”
Meanwhile, the CAS has instituted an investigative panel to determine the remote and immediate causes of the accident.