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Police, AIB differ on “crash” of helicopter in Bauchi

Police, AIB differ on “crash” of helicopter in Bauchi

The Nigerian Police have denied reports that one of their aircraft crashed in Bauchi State after taking off from Abuja on Tuesday.

Police spokesperson, Frank Mba, who made this known in a statement on Thursday, said the aircraft was only involved in a ‘controlled safe landing.’

There were reports that the helicopter belonging to the police crashed in Bauchi State.

The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) also said it was conducting investigations into the crash.

The Bureau, in a statement on Thursday, said the aircraft with registration 5N-MDA, was involved in the accident on Wednesday.

There were some injuries but no fatalities.

The AIB said it was notified by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), adding that there were no fatalities and some of the six persons on board merely sustained injuries.

“The investigating agency, AIB-N needs and hereby solicits your assistance. We want the public to know that we would be amenable to receiving any video clips, evidence, or information any member of the public may have of the accident that can assist us with this investigation.

“The Bureau will appreciate that the general public and press respect the privacy of the people involved and not assume the cause of the accident until the formal report is released,” the Bureau said.

But debunking the report, Mr Mba confirmed that none of the occupants sustained any injury, contrary to the media reports.

“The Nigeria Police Helicopter, Bell 429 5N-MDA, flying from Abuja to Bauchi on Tuesday, January 26, 2022, was involved in a controlled safe landing at the Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa International Airport, Bauchi.

“The aircraft did not crash as being reported in some sections of the media and none of the occupants sustained any injury whatsoever. All six (6) on board including the pilot and co-pilot are in good condition.

“Similarly, the aircraft, which was flown by one of the best Police Pilots, was professionally safe-landed with minor damage on the rear rotor as a result of an obstacle at the landing spot. The incident occurred around 7:30PM (local time).

“The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, psc (+), NPM, fdc has commended the Police Air-Wing for their professionalism in safe-landing the aircraft and averting any serious air-mishap. He further noted that the Nigeria Police Air-wing – with a fleet of one fixed-wing aircraft, a citation jet and thirteen (13) helicopters – has a strong history of air safety since its establishment in the year 1972,” the statement read.

The development comes amid multiple crashes of military aircraft in the last 12 months.

PREMIUM TIMES had reported how the last aircraft that crashed belonging to the Nigerian Air Force was shot down after coming under intense fire by bandits operating between Kaduna and Zamfara States.

The incident came a few months after another military aircraft crashed killing a former Chief of Army staff, Ibrahim Attahiru, and other senior military personnel.

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