The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) authority has explained the circumstances that led to the death of Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, Nigeria’s first female combat helicopter pilot.
The Air Force had on Tuesday announced the death or Arotile, saying that she died in an accident within the NAF Base in Kaduna.
However, in a detailed release by the NAF’s Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, the late young Officer was killed by a reversing car.
According to Air Commodore Daramola, “Flying Officer Arotile died on 14 July 2020 at the age of 24, when she was inadvertently hit by the reversing vehicle of an excited former Air Force Secondary School classmate while trying to greet her.
“Flying Officer Arotile joined the Nigerian Air Force out of a passion for the job. In her words “I joined the military simply out of a passion for it. Being military personnel has been a long time ambition, the carriage and what it stands for are simply exceptional”.
Giving her profile, the Air Force Spokesman said, before her untimely death, Flying Officer Arotile made significant and outstanding contributions to the war against terrorism, armed banditry and other forms of criminality in the Country, flying several combat missions.
“Born on 13 December 1995 to the family of Mr and Mrs Akintunde Arotile in Kaduna, Flying Officer Tolulope Oluwatoyin Sarah Arotile hails from Ijumu Local Government Area of Kogi State. She attended Air Force Primary School, Kaduna from 2000 – 2005 and Air Force Secondary School, Kaduna from 2006 – 2011 before she later gained admission into the Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna as a member of 64 Regular Course on 22 September 2012.
“Flying Officer Arotile was commissioned into the Nigerian Air Force as a Pilot Officer on 16 September 2017 and holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the Nigerian Defence Academy.
“Flying Officer Arotile was winged as the first-ever female combat helicopter pilot in the Nigerian Air Force on 15 October 2019, after completing her flying training in South Africa.
She holds a commercial pilot license and also underwent tactical flying training on the Agusta 109 Power Attack Helicopter in Italy.
“Incidentally, she introduced the newly acquired Agusta 109 Power Attack Helicopter to the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, during the induction ceremony at Eagle Square in Abuja on 6 February 2020.
“The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, on behalf officers, airmen, airwomen and civilian staff of the Service, consoles with the family of late Flying Officer Arotile over this irreparable loss. May her gentle soul continue to Rest In Peace,” the statement read.