Ibikunle Daramola, the air force spokesperson, confirmed the crash in a statement in Abuja, saying that “a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Beechcraft KingAir B350i aircraft crashed while returning to the Abuja Airport after reporting engine failure enroute Minna”, capital of the Niger state in the country’s central-north region, Xinhua reported.
“First responders are at the scene. Sadly, all 7 personnel on board died in the crash,” Daramola said.
According to the spokesperson, the Chief of the Air Staff Oladayo Amao has ordered an immediate investigation into the incident, urging the public to remain calm and await the outcome of the investigation.
A source at the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) told Xinhua that the voice recorder of the aircraft had been found.
“From the voice recorder found, we can tell that the pilot did not declare Mayday. He obviously thought he would make it to the runway which is 400 metres away from here,” said the source who preferred to be anonymous.
First responders, including the fire service and local residents in Bassanjuwa, a farming community near the airport, had a hectic time putting off the fire and searching for the victims.
One military source told Xinhua that the jet was on a surveillance mission to the Niger state, where scores of students and residents were kidnapped in Kagara town of the state on Wednesday.