From Umar Dankano, Yola & Joy Baba Yesufu
The residents of Damare suburb, in Girei local government area of Adamawa state, were yesterday thrown into confusion, as a military helicopter crashed, leaving two of its occupants with injuries.
While confirming the accident, the spokesman Adamawa state Police Command, DSP Abubakar Othman, said they received signals about the air mishap, but added that investigation was on-going as at the time of the interaction with newsmen.
A Nigerian Air Forces helicopter, with call sign Shark 23, on a training mission executed a controlled forced landing four minutes after take-off at the runway approach end of Yola International Airport, yesterday, the police said.
The Nigerian military also yesterday confirmed the crash, in a statement signed by the Director of Defence Information, (DDI) Major General Chris Olukolade in Abuja.
He said the forced landing was made four minutes after take-off at the runway approach end of the Yola International Airport at 9.30 a.m.
“There is no casualty as all the crew members have been recovered back to base,” Mr. Olukolade, a Major General said. “The Nigerian Air force Headquarters has already set up an investigative panel to unravel the circumstances leading to the incident.”
“I saw some other helicopters coming to pick some things they did not allow us to get closer again, there was no death as at the time we assisted them to bring the other victims out,” he said.
When asked on the nationality of the crew members, as narrated by the witnesses, Mr. Olukolade said that would be unravelled by investigations.
The recent crash was the third time in three months that an air mishap was recorded with the first being the air crash involving a Jet fighter during routine operations in Northern parts of the state and another one at the Yola International airport.
Meanwhile, in a swift reaction, the Defence Headquarters yesterday said no helicopter evacuated CDS family members of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh.
According to a press statement issued yesterday, the DHQ said,”Contrary to a misinformation that has gone viral on cyberspace, Chief of Defence Staff, Alex Badeh never sent any helicopter to his home town in Adamawa State to evacuate members of his family hours before the fall of the town to Boko Haram terrorists.
In that vein, mass media practitioners have been urged to desist from lifting unsubstantiated items from social media and bloggers who often do not know the difference between beer-parlour gossip and news.
A statement posted on the blog of Nigerian Defence headquarters (http://defenceinfo.mil.ng/) earlier today referred to one such reckless publication as asserting Badeh sent a military helicopter to evacuate members of his family just a few hours before the fall of his home town to Boko Haram terrorists.
“Contrary to the claims by the author, the helicopter that flew to Mubi was on an operational mission to reinforce the ground troops in preparation of efforts to repel the attack. The helicopter did not convey any civilian or relation of the CDS as disdainfully insinuated in the article.
“The damage done by the fabrications contained in that article has not only personal, but national security implications.
“Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh as the Chief of Defence Staff has uppermost in his heart, the interest of the entire citizens of Nigeria, whom he swore to protect. Insinuating that the CDS is self-centred and insensitive to the plight of his people is wicked and damaging indeed.
“The DHQ wishes to reassure Nigerians that as a patriot and one on whose shoulders the leadership of Nigerian Armed Forces rests, he has honestly reaffirmed severally that he considers every Nigerian and every part of Nigeria as deserving of equal protection especially at this challenging times”, it stated.