A Nigerian Air Force (NAF) helicopter, on Friday, crash-landed and exploded at the NAF Base, Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital.
The NAF spokesperson, Edward Gabkwet, confirmed the development in a statement.
Mr Gabkwet, an air commodore, said the affected aircraft, NAF MI-35P, had taken off to embark on an operation against suspected oil thieves in the state.
He said five persons on board survived the incident with minor injuries.
“The unfortunate incident occurred at about 7.45 am shortly after the aircraft took off for an operation against economic saboteurs in Rivers State,” the spokesperson said.
“Fortunately, the entire crew of five survived the crash with very minor injuries and is currently being attended to at NAF Medical Centre Port Harcourt.”
Mr Gabkwet said the Chief of Air Staff, Hasan Abubakar, an air marshal, was on his way to the scene of the incident to assess the situation.
“An incident of this nature is yet again a grim reminder of the dangers associated with military flying and the risks NAF pilots and technicians experience in their onerous tasks of defending our nation and deterring criminals from their nefarious activities,” he added.
The crash-landing of aircraft is not new in Nigeria.
Many, including NAF aircraft, have crash-landed at different times and locations across the country.
The latest incident occurred about seven months after an aircraft belonging to Max Air crash-landedalong the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
Another NAF aircraft, in February 2021, crashed while returning to the Abuja airport after reporting engine failure en route to Minna, the Niger State capital.
All the seven personnel on board the aircraft died in the crash, NAF authorities had said.