One of the Nigerian Air Force’s two recently acquired AW101 helicopters has been damaged in an incident that saw the aircraft roll over on the ground.
The accident happened at Nigerian Air Force Base Makurdi on 23 November. Reports indicate the incident happened after the aircraft had landed. A flight engineer was apparently taxiing the aircraft to a hangar when it lifted up and rolled over onto its side.
The flight engineer, who was apparently the only crewmember still on board, suffered minor injuries while the AW101’s rotors were destroyed and it suffered other major damage.
The accident occurred over a month after the Nigerian government handed over two AW101s to the Nigerian Air Force in an effort to reduce expenditure. The aircraft were handed over on 10 October in a ceremony attended by Chief of Air Staff, Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar, who said that one of the helicopters will be configured and deployed as an air ambulance, while the second will be used to transport troops.
The two aircraft were acquired by the Nigerian government on 20 October 2014 and 21 May 2015, according to the Nigerian Presidency Office of Digital Engagement (PODE). Nigeria’s AW101s were originally two of 12 destined for the Indian Air Force but diverted to Nigeria after the contract with India was cancelled over bribery and corruption allegations.
The PODE said the AW101 handover was the second since Buhari took office, with the first in 2015. National Security Advisor Babagana Monguno said one A109 helicopter and one King Air from the VIP airlift fleet had been handed over to the Air Force. Nigeria had approximately ten aircraft in its VIP airlift fleet.
The transfer of the helicopters comes shortly after the Nigerian government announced on 4 October that it was selling two VIP jets. The aircraft up for sale are a Dassault Falcon 7X and a Hawker 4000.