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NAF helicopter crashes in Port Harcourt

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A Nigerian Air Force helicopter crashed and exploded at the NAF Base in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Friday morning. 

The cause of the crash and the number of casualties are yet to be officially confirmed by the authorities.

Eyewitnesses reported hearing a loud bang and seeing smoke rising from the crash site around 9:30 am. The helicopter, which was reportedly on a routine training mission, went down and burst into flames upon impact.

Some residents claimed they saw bodies being evacuated from the wreckage. However, the official casualty count remains unconfirmed.

The NAF Base in Port Harcourt serves as a crucial operational hub for the air force in the Niger Delta region. It houses the 115 Special Operations Group and the 97 Air Combat Training Group, among other units. The base is also actively involved in ongoing joint military operations against militants and criminal elements in the area.

This incident marks the third NAF helicopter crash in 2023, following previous crashes in Niger State in August and Kaduna State in June. The air force has been grappling with challenges in maintaining its aging fleet of aircraft, some dating back to the 1970s and 1980s.

The federal government has been making efforts to modernize the air force’s equipment, acquiring new and advanced platforms such as the A-29 Super Tucano, the JF-17 Thunder, and the Mi-171E helicopters.

Authorities are currently investigating the cause of the crash and will provide an official statement on the casualties once the information is verified.

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