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NPF chopper crash: Police deny AIB report

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THE Police have denied reports that six of their officers were injured in a helicopter crash that occurred at Bauchi airport. 

Earlier, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) had said that the accident occurred on January 26, 2022, around 7:30 pm (local time), according to a statement on Thursday, February 27, 2022, signed by its General Manager for Public Affairs Tunji Oketunbi.

The flight was bound for Bauchi from Abuja. No death was recorded.

The AIB report stated: “On 26th January 2022, the Accident Investigation Bureau, Nigeria, was notified by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) about an accident involving a Bell 429 helicopter with Registration Marks 5N-MDA owned and operated by the Nigerian Police Force (NPF). The accident occurred on 26th January 2022 around 7:30pm (Local Time) at Bauchi Airport.

“The NPF helicopter had departed Abuja at 16:54 UTC for Bauchi with six persons onboard, maintaining 5,500ft. There were some injuries but no fatality,” the statement read.

The bureau, which began its investigation into the matter, sought assistance from the public to support the process with video clips, evidence or information, noting that it was open to accepting help.

“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 statement added.

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In debunking the AIB report, Commissioner of Police Frank Mba asserted none of the members was injured.

“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 on board, including the pilot and co-pilot, are in good condition,” according to a statement received by The ICIR.

“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,” it added.

Mba maintained that the Nigeria Police Air wing, with a fleet of one fixed-wing aircraft, a citation jet and 13 helicopters, had a strong history of air safety since its establishment in 1972.

Author profile

Experienced Business reporter seeking the truth and upholding justice. Covered capital markets, aviation, maritime, road and rail, as well as economy. Email tips to jolaoluwa@icirnigeria.org. Follow on Twitter @theminentmuyiwa and on Instagram @Hollumuyiwah.

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