Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Nigeria loses first female combat helicopter pilot

Nigerian Air Force’s first female combat helicopter pilot, Tolulope Arotile, has passed away.

Arotile sustained head injuries from a road accident which occurred at the NAF Base in Kaduna.

She died less than a year after she was decorated as the first female combatant helicopter pilot.

NAF in a press statement said the flight officer died on Tuesday.

The statement quoted the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, as describing her death as an “irreparable loss”.

The statement read, “It is with great sorrow that the Nigerian Air Force regretfully announces the unfortunate demise of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, who died today (Tuesday), 14 July 2020, as a result of head injuries sustained from a road traffic accident at NAF Base Kaduna.

“Until her death, ‪Flying Officer Arotile, who was commissioned into the NAF in September 2017 as a member of Nigerian Defence Academy Regular Course 64, was the first-ever female combat helicopter pilot in the Service.‬

“During her short but impactful stay in the Service, the late Arotile contributed significantly to the efforts to rid the North Central States of armed bandits and other criminal elements by flying several combat missions under Operation GAMA AIKI in Minna, Niger State.

“We pray that the Almighty God grants her soul eternal rest.”

Arotile, who hailed from Iffe in Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State, recently completed a program at the Starlite International Training Academy, South Africa.

Arotile graduated as the best flight student from the Nigerian Air Force in 2017.

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