Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Hasan Abubakar, weekend, ordered a probe into the crash of a Nigerian Air Force MI-35P attack helicopter in Port Harcourt, capital of Rivers State.
The air force chief directed the immediate commencement of the accident investigation, “So that we can learn exactly what happened and prevent future occurrences.”
The air force chief also visited Port Harcourt to assess the situation, visit the crew and encourage the personnel of 115 Special Operations Group (115 SOG).
He also directed the commander of the medical centre, where the surviving crew members were receiving treatment to ensure they were given utmost attention required.
While addressing the personnel of 115 SOG, Air Marshal Abubakar, encouraged them to see the setback as a setup for a resilient comeback, channelling efforts toward thwarting the activities of economic saboteurs and countering oil theft.
“You must, therefore, never be discouraged as the hopes of millions of Nigerians rest on our shoulders. The realisation of these aspirations is hinged on our ability to combat all forms of criminality that threaten our peace and stability,” he said.
A statement at the weekend by the Spokesman of the Nigerian Air Force, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, said Abubakar urged them “to see air accidents or mishaps as impetus to propel all NAF personnel towards seeking improved safety management measures, while remaining undeterred and focused in tackling the myriads of security threats facing the nation.
“Times like these are a sad reminder of the inherent risks in military aviation, especially when flying activities, occasioned by our current security challenges, have tremendously increased. As we continue to fly intensively, incidents are bound to occur. Nevertheless, we must continue to ensure we minimise the risk factors as reasonably practicable,” he said.