Buhari pained by NAF Alpha Jet crash, relieved by Pilot’s gallantry, rescue


Photo: Dairo flanked by CDS, COAS, others

President Muhammadu Buhari says he is “pained” by Sunday’s crash of a Nigerian Air Force Alpha Jet in Zamfara State, but “relieved” by the news of the rescue of the gallant pilot, Flt. Lt. Abayomi Dairo, who survived an air crash.

Dairo had reportedly successfully ejected himself from the fighter aircraft that came under intense ground fire from bandits and escaped the firing of his attackers firing before running into safety and was rescued.

Reacting to the news, the president’s spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday, said President Buhari said he was pained by news of the air crash but relieved by the pilot’s gallantry and rescue.

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According to the presidential spokesman, the president was briefed on the successful operation to rescue the pilot by the nation’s defence forces.

Shehu quoted the president as saying: “I was shocked by the devastating news of the air crash but felt much relieved, following the successful ejection by the pilot and his eventual rescue.

“May the injured pilot recover at the earliest time.’’

NAF had in a statement on Monday by its spokesman, Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, said the aircraft was returning from a successful air interdiction mission between the boundaries of Zamfara and Kaduna State, but came under intense enemy fire which led to its crash in Zamfara State.

“Luckily, the gallant pilot of the aircraft, Flight Lieutenant Abayomi Dairo, successfully ejected from the aircraft. Using his survival instincts, the pilot, who came under intense ground fire from the bandits, was able to evade them and sought refuge in nearby settlements awaiting sunset.

“Using the cover of darkness and his phone set for navigation, Flight Lieutenant Dairo was able to elude several bandits’ strongholds and maneuvered his way to a Nigerian Army Unit, where he was finally rescued,” the statement said.

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