Nigeria loses First and Only Female Combat Helicopter Pilot to road accident


The first-ever and only female combat helicopter pilot in the Nigerian Air Force, Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile has been confirmed dead on Tuesday, following a tragic incident at NAF Base in Kaduna State, where she sustained head injuries from a road accident.

Ibikunle Daramola ,Spokesman to the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) announced her death in a statement late on Tuesday.

This unfortunate incident was described as a great loss to the Nigerian Airforce Family and a major setback for the fight against insurgency and banditry in the country.

It was gathered in a statement by Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, Director of Public Relations and Information, Nigerian Air Force and obtained, that late Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile was involved in a road accident that occurred at NAF Base in Kaduna and was pronounced dead, shortly after sustaining head injuries.

The Flying Officer Arotile’s vehicle was hit inadvertently by the reversing vehicle of an excited former Air Force Secondary School classmate who was trying to greet her.

The statement reads: “The Nigerian Air Force has lost the only female helicopter combat pilot.

It is with great sorrow that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) regretfully announces the unfortunate demise of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, who died today, July 14, 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, late Arotile, who hails from Iffe in Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State, 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.

“The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on behalf officers, airmen, airwomen and civilian staff of the NAF, commiserates with the family of late Flying Officer Arotile over this irreparable loss. We pray that the Almighty God grants her soul eternal rest.”

Fatimah Oyesanmi

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