Nigerian Air Force AW-109 helicopter crash, crew rescued

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has just lost an AgustaWestland AW-109 light utility and transport helicopter on Thursday 14 November, 2019 at its base in Enugu.

The AgustaWestlandAW-109 helicopter crashed after a routine flight, although, the cause of incident could not yet be ascertained.

A press statement by the Nigerian Air Force through its social media reads: “@NigAirForce Helicopter has crashed on landing in Enugu after a routine flight today. Fortunately, there were no fatalities or injuries to any crew member or persons on the ground.”

Regarding the incident, the Chief of Air Staff AVM Sadiqur Abubakar has directed that a Board of Inquiry be constituted to determine the causes of the accident, and the scene of the crash was cordoned-off from the general public.

The AgustaWestland AW-109 helicopter is a lightweight, twin-engine, eight-seat multi-purpose helicopter built by the Italian manufacturer Leonardo.

The NAF’s AW109 LUH (Light Utility Helicopter) are used for combat operations against militants in northeast Nigeria, as well as for tactical training of future helicopter pilots.

Since this year, the Nigerian Air Force had lost three helicopters through various mishaps, on January 2019, a Russian-Made Mil Mi-35M attack helicopters crashed.

Similarly, on July 2017, another AgustaWestland AW 109 helicopter was forced down on a body of water by the crew after it developed a technical glitch.

In December 2017, the Nigerian Air Force placed an order for six Leonardo AW109M Power gunships, they can be armed with heavy machine gun pods and 70 mm rocket launchers.

Ekene Lionel

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