Photo above: Attahiru and the officers who died in Friday’s crash. Photo Courtesy: The News Guru
▪︎ Buhari mourns
The Nigerian Army has commenced burial proceedings for it’s late Chief, Lt. General Ibrahim Attahiru and six other officers.
A statement by the army says, “The Burial proceedings of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Late Lieutenant General Ibrahim Attahiru and 6 other senior officers who lost their lives in an air mishap in Kaduna is slated for today Saturday, 22 May 21.
“It will commence at the National Mosque and National Christian Centre, Abuja by 1000hrs respectively.
“Consequently, the interment for the late COAS and 6 other senior officers will take place at the National Military Cemetery, Abuja today by 1300hrs”.
The burial commence as concerns grow over the spate of air disasters that have claimed lives of officers and men.
“In the past six months at least three Airforce planes have crashed killing all on board. How many more will happen before a systemic enquiry is launched to investigate the state of maintenance of their fleet in spite of huge budgetary allocations?”
These were the thought-provoking words of a public commentator on social media
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari is deeply saddened over the air crash that claimed Lt. Gen. Attahiru, and other military officers.
The President, according to a statement from his office, condoles with families of the deceased, the military, and Nigerians in general, describing them as “heroes who paid the ultimate price for peace and security in the land.”
“While praying that God receives the souls of the patriots, the President says the crash “is one mortal blow to our underbelly, at a time our armed forces are poised to end the security challenges facing the country.”
“The President pledged that the departed would not die in vain,” the statement said.
On Friday night, Nigeria lost its Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Ibrahim Attahiru, in an air crash close to the Kaduna Airport.
Attahiru and ten others were aboard a NAF Beechcraft 350 aircraft when it crashed and exploded into a ball of fire.
“An air crash involving a Nigerian Air Force aircraft occurred this evening near the Kaduna International Airport. The immediate cause of the crash is still being ascertained. More details to follow soon,” the NAF spokesperson, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, said in a statement.
It was the third time in 2021 alone that a Nigerian Air Force jet had crashed.
At least 17 military officers had lost their lives in those incidents.
On Sunday, February 21, 2021, seven NAF officers died aboard a Beechcraft KingAir B350i aircraft when the jet crashed in Abuja.
The plane crashed close to the runway of the Abuja International Airport after reporting engine failure.
Also, on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, an Alpha-Jet aircraft involved in the anti-terror war against Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) lost radar contact in Borno State.
Two officers were onboard the aircraft and their whereabouts remain unknown till date.
It has led to questions being asked about military aviation in the country, as civil aviation has recorded no crash involving commercial flights in about a decade.
Just as the above report by Daily Post has elicited great concerns in many quarters, the report by Per Secobd News below has added an international perspective to the narratives that have implicated Beechcraft 350 as a significant culprit.
According to the report, two deadly Beechcraft King Air accidents at the end of June 2019 helped propel aviation safety into one of its darkest periods on record.
The fact that both accidents occurred shortly after takeoff—and several recent similar events—might be cause for alarm for this popular twin turboprop.
Nigeria’s Defence Headquarters on Friday said bad weather was also responsible for the crash of a Nigerian Air Force Beachcraft 350 aircraft at the Kaduna International Airport that killed 11 people including the Army Chief, General Ibrahim Attahiru.
Since October 2014 there have been at least five King Air accidents during takeoff or initial climb.
During each of these events, including the two most recent crashes, the pilot lost control of the aircraft shortly after takeoff.
In four of these events, the aircraft wreckage hit structures on or near an airport.
The crash on Friday in Kaduna occurred close to the airport after takeoff also.
On June 30, 2019, nine days after an Hawaii crash involving a Beechcraft 350 aircraft, another King Air 350 collided with a hangar and terrain after takeoff from Addison Airport in Texas.
Two pilots, one an ATP and the other commercial-rated, and eight passengers died. The Part 91 cross-country flight was planned to depart Addison and fly to St. Petersburg, Florida.
According to the preliminary report, the takeoff and departure of the airplane were captured by several video cameras, radar, and observed by witnesses.
One witness stated that as the aircraft went down the runway, “it seemed quieter than normal and sounded like it didn’t have sufficient power to takeoff.”
A Beechcraft 350ER Super King crashed in Ji’an China killing 5 onboard on March 1, 2021.
While completing a cloud seeding mission in the region of Ji’an, the twin engine aircraft crashed in unknown circumstances into three houses located in the Ji’an area. All five occupants were killed and one person on the ground was slightly injured.
On February 21, 2021 A Beechcraft 350 Super King Air crashed in Abuja, Nigeria killing 7 people.
Registration number NAF 201, according to this newspaper’s investigation after takeoff from Abuja-Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, while climbing, the crew informed ATC about an engine failure and was cleared for an immediate return.
On final approach to runway 22, the aircraft went out of control and crashed in an open field, bursting into flames.
The aircraft was destroyed and all 7 occupants were killed, among them two pilots, four ATOS specialists (Airborne Tactical Observation System) and one technician.
On July 15, 2020 A Beechcraft 350i crashed in Turkey killing 7 people.
The twin-engine aircraft departed Van-Ferit Melen Airport at 1834LT on a survey/reconnaissance mission over the province of Hakkari and Van, carrying five passengers and two pilots.
At 2232LT, the crew informed ATC about his position vertical to Başkale on approach to Van-Ferit Melen Airport.
Thirteen minutes later, the aircraft struck the slope of Mt Artos located 30 km southwest of runway 03 threshold.
The aircraft was destroyed upon impact and all seven occupants were killed.
The Beechcraft Super King Air family is part of a line of twin-turboprop aircraft produced by Beechcraft.
The Model 200 and Model 300 series were originally marketed as the “Super King Air” family; the “Super” designation was dropped in 1996.
▪︎ Additional reports by The Conclave