The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Ademola Amosu has said that the Air Force has credible information on where the Alpha Jet which crashed while on a mission in North-eastern part of the country may be.
An Air Force jet with two pilots on board, while on a mission from Yola to Maiduguri, disappeared from radar since Friday and a search and rescue operation has been dispatched to locate and rescue the pilots.
Speaking with State House correspondents after meeting with Vice President Namadi Sambo, the Air Force chief said the inclement weather in the area has hampered search operations but added that citizens around the area of operation have provided useful information on its possible location.
According to him: “One of our Alpha Jets went on routine operation in the North East and lost contact with the control towers and that made us to immediately initiate search. The weather has not been helpful as we have deployed all our surveillance capability, the citizens have been very, very helpful and we have gotten good information from them. But you know, in the aviation sector, we have some specific information that we ought to have to make the search easy.
“But the information we are getting from the citizens are good but not sufficient enough for us to define the area of search. But we have an idea of where the aircraft could be. Do not forget that it is the open Sahel. Some people may think it is easy but in the open Sahel, sometimes, it is even very challenging. Human beings standing may look like trees and again the area we are talking about we have operations going on there and we have limitations as to how low we come to conduct the search. I am hopeful that before the end of the week we should be able to provide credible information as to the location of the aircraft and then the pilots” he said.
He, however, ruled out the possibility of a sabotage, saying that the Air Force was in charge of the airspace where the incidence happened.
According to the Air Force chief, although details of what happened were unclear, “one thing is clear, whatever problem they had, an ejection was contemplated, it is therefore my hope that the pilots are still alive.
“There was no Sabotage because it is a distance of just from Maiduguri to Yola. We are in full control of the air space. But don’t forget that when you lose radio signal it becomes very challenging. There are so many possibilities but we are working on it”, he said.
It would be recalled that farmers in Gombi Local Government Area of Adamawa State were quoted in the media to have claimed that they saw a low-flying aircraft that may have crashed at a place near Gabun, a mountainous village in the local council, three days ago.
The farmers claimed that they saw a “low-flying jet” matching the description of the missing Alpha jet after its disappearance on Friday.