‘We hope to get our pilots alive,’ Nigerian air force says, as military plane disappears from radar #Breaking112
A Nigerian air force spokesman told CNN Thursday afternoon that the fighter jet had been deployed to provide air support to ground troops, who were under fire from Boko Haram fighters before radar contact was lost.
“We don’t know if there is a crash yet. We remain very hopeful that we will get our pilots alive … we are very optimistic about that, but at the moment we can’t say what has happened to the aircraft,” said Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet.
Gabkwet did not immediately confirm how many airmen were on board the aircraft. He, however, told CNN that the missing plane was not the only fighter jet on routine operation at the time of its disappearance.
“We had two other aircraft within the vicinity, so it’s strange to us that it went missing,” he said.
“The aircraft disappeared from radar at about 5:08 p.m on Wednesday — in an area that’s barely 80km out of Borno State. It was on a mission to give fire cover to our troops who were coming under intense fire from Boko Haram insurgents,” Gabkwet added.
Speaking on efforts to trace the missing plane, Gabkwet said the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Oladayo Amao, had arrived at Maiduguri, the Borno capital — where he “was briefed on ongoing search and rescue efforts in connection with the missing Alpha Jet aircraft.”