A probe has commenced into yesterday’s crash of a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) helicopter travelling to Kaduna from Zungeru in Niger State.
The probe, according to the NAF, will unravel the probable cause of the incident.
Villagers alleged the aircraft was shot down by bandits soon after take-off.
A statement by NAF spokesman, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, said: “A Nigerian Air Force MI-171 Helicopter on a casualty evacuation mission crashed today, 14 August 2023 at about 1.00 pm near Chukuba village in Niger state.
“The aircraft had departed Zungeru Primary School en route to Kaduna but was later discovered to have crashed near Chukuba village in Shiroro Local Government Area of Niger state.
“Efforts are currently ongoing to rescue the crew and passengers on board the helicopter, while preliminary investigations have commenced to determine the probable cause of the crash.”
Villagers said suspected terrorists killed a pilot and injured another after shooting down the helicopter.
The criminals were said to have ambushed and killed 13 people along the Zungeru-Tegina Road, Madaka Ward in the Rafi Local Government Area.
Asked to clarify the conflicting reports, Gabkwet said: “We are not good at hiding information and we don’t believe in that.
“If there is anything we feel Nigerians should know, we will let them know.
“But, as we said in our statement, we are still investigating.”