Exclusive: Pilots of Nigeria’s crashed Alpha Jet ‘ejected’ before going off radar
Sources said the jet went down after it was shot at…
There are strong clues that the two pilots of Nigeria Air force’s missing alpha jet had ejected before the plane went off the radar.
It is also very plausible that the two pilots who are missing for about 48 hours after they went off radar and several hours after the body of the crashed jet was found, may have landed inside territories controlled by the armed opposition group.
The Humanitarian Times had an exclusive information from military source familiar with the crashing of the air craft that the pilots informed communication tower that they were going to “eject” before they suddenly went blank.
The Himanitarian Times learnt that a search team of the Nigeria military had discovered the shattered remains of the missing air force jet as it crashed down at a location around southern Borno state.
The source said the aircraft was found without the seats which suggested that the pilots had successfully ejected before the plane nosed down.
The source who pleaded for absolute anonymity because of lack of clearance to dibulge such information, said the aircraft “was gunned down” by suspected members of the armed opposition group.
“Confirmed; Alpha jet NAF475 was brought down,” the military source said.
The Nigerian alpha jet that went missing on Wednesday may have crashed, an official has said.
“It is common sense to know that a fighter pilot notifies the communication tower when the vessel is in critical state of damage when airborne,” the source said.
The Humanitarian Times gathered from military experts that fighter jets like ‘Alpha’ are equipped with an ejection seat or ejector seat, “which is a system designed to rescue the pilot or other crew of an aircraft in an emergency”.
In most designs, the seat is propelled out of the aircraft by an explosive charge or rocket motor, carrying the pilot with it.
‘Once clear of the aircraft, the ejection seat deploys a parachute that safely lands the pilot or the crew.
According to Wikipedia, “when the pilot can see that there is no hope of regaining aircraft control before impact with the ground.”
Towards the end of the Vietnam War, some U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy were worried about their pilots were “ejecting over hostile territory and those pilots either being captured or killed and the losses in men and aircraft in attempts to rescue them.”
Was NAF475 gunned down?
The spokesperson of the Nigerian Air Force, Edward Gabkwet, said in a statement on Friday morning that “Intelligence report gathered by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) indicates that the Alpha Jet aircraft (NAF475) that went off the radar with 2 crew members on board on 31 March 2021 might have crashed.
Air Commodore Gabkwet, said “the cause of the crash as well as the whereabouts of the 2 pilots remain unknown.”
The Air Force spokesman named the two crew members as “Flight Lieutenant John Abolarinwa and Flight Lieutenant Ebiakpo Chapele.”
He said an extensive search and rescue efforts are still ongoing by NAF surveillance aircraft as well as NAF Special Forces and Nigerian Army troops on ground.
“At this point, the NAF is not ruling out anything regarding the incident. It however remains hopeful that the crew would soon be found and rescued,” he said.
The NAF headquarters said the missing alpha jet was carrying out a mission against Boko Haram terrorists in Borno State when it/disappeared from the radar at about 6 pm.
Since authorities at the NAF headquarters said they are not ruling out anything concerning what happened to alpha jet NAF475, it therefore safe to worry loudly that the two crew members may have fallen into an enemy camp since no one has heard from them for nearly 48 hours after they went off radar.
The impeccable source who spoke to The Humanitarian Times confirmed that the pilots alerted their intention to use the ejector seat.
“That means they are under a critical situation that is out of their control; it is either they were hit by an enemy firing or there was a major technical fault that rendered them inability to maintain air control. Once you are confronted with these two situatiations you call to alert the need to eject.”