Military jet crashes in Zamfara, pilot survives

Chief of the Air Staff Air Marshal Oladayo Amao Nigerian Air Force

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has confirmed that an alpha jet aircraft crashed in Zamfara on Sunday following an attack by unidentified persons.

The aircraft’s pilot Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo survived the incident, NAF spokesman Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet said in a statement on Monday.

“On 18 July 2021, at about 12.45 pm, a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Alpha Jet aircraft, returning from a successful air interdiction mission between the boundaries of Zamfara and Kaduna State, came under intense enemy fire which led to its crash in Zamfara State. Luckily, the gallant pilot of the aircraft, Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, successfully ejected from the aircraft,” the statement read.

“Using his survival instincts, the pilot, who came under intense ground fire from the bandits, was able to evade them and sought refuge in nearby settlements awaiting sunset. Using the cover of darkness and his phone set for navigation, Flight Lieutenant Dairo was able to elude several bandits’ strongholds and maneuvered his way to a Nigerian Army Unit, where he was finally rescued.”

According to the statement, on the instruction of the chief of air staff Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, the NAF Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) platforms and helicopter gunships provided close air support to NAF Special Forces and Nigerian Army troops who were able to locate the crash site and the pilot’s parachute.

“It is gladdening to note that while in hiding, Flight Lieutenant Dairo confirmed that the presence of NAF aircraft within the vicinity of the crash site helped in scaring the bandits who were after him, thus enabling him to find refuge and escape to a safe location,” the statement added.

The NAF restated its commitment towards fulfilling President Muhammadu Buhari’s mandate to the Force as well as other constitutional roles assigned to it.