Pilot of crashed Alpha jet not yet found- NAF

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The Nigerian Airforce has debunked a report by a national daily (ThisDay), that the body of one of the pilots and wreckage of the NAF Alfa Jet, NAF 475 that disappeared from radar on Wednesday 31 March has been found in Bama.

Sociend Media gathered that two pilots Flight Lieutenant John Abolarinwa and Flight Lieutenant Ebiakpo Chapele were onboard the missing fighter jet.

NAF spokesperson Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet who stated this in statement Monday, described the report as misleading.

He urged journalists to always exercise restraint in their reportage and endeavour to always clarify issues before going to press.

He said search and rescue efforts will be sustained until the wreckage of the aircraft is found, adding that the general public shall be informed of any update as regards the missing aircraft.

“:The attention of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has been drawn to an online publication by THISDAY Newspaper of 5 April 2021 on the unfortunate crash involving the NAF Alpha Jet aircraft earlier reported missing. The report, with the caption, “Wreckage of Missing NAF Alpha Jet 475 Found in Bama ,” claimed that the missing aircraft as well as the body of one of the missing pilots have been found.

The report, which quoted “an authoritative military source” was not only misleading but absolutely at variance with known ethos of the Journalism profession as the Medium never made effort to contact the NAF to verify the story before the said publication.

“From the day control lost radar contact with the aircraft on 31 March 2021, the NAF as a professional fighting force has been keeping members of the public abreast and updated on the missing aircraft and combined efforts of the NAF and Nigerian Army(NA) search and rescue team to locate the crashed aircraft. It is therefore sad and disheartening that such an unverified story could be published without any effort to confirm its veracity from the NAF.
It is not in dispute that the media as the watchdog of the society have the right to continually inform the public. It should however be done within the acceptable dictates of the noble journalism profession.
While search and rescue efforts are being sustained until the wreckage of the aircraft is found, the NAF wishes to reassure the general public that it shall be informed of any update as regards the missing aircraft. Members of the press are thus requested to always be circumspect and exercise restraint in their reportage and endeavour to always clarify issues before going to press.
The general public should therefore disregard the unverified publication on the missing Alpha jet aircraft by the aforementioned newspaper”.

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