Nigerian Army chief killed in King Air 350i crash

A Nigerian Air Force (NAF)-operated Beechcraft King Air 350i crashed near Kaduna International Airport on the evening of May 21, killing all 11 onboard – including the newly appointed chief of the Nigerian Army.

The light VIP transport aircraft – serial NAF203 (c/n FL-891) – was attempting to land at the Nigerian airport in poor weather conditions at the time of the crash. The incident resulted in the deaths of all 11 people onboard, including the Nigerian Army chief, Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, who had only taken up his post in January.

Nigerian King Air 350i [Nigerian Air Force]
A Nigerian Air Force-operated Beechcraft King Air 350i. In 2021 alone, two thirds of the air arm's King Air 350i fleet have been written off in attrition cases. Nigerian Air Force

The other fatalities included Brig Gen O L Olayinka; Brig Gen A U Kuliya; Brig Gen M I Abdulkadri; Maj L A Hayat; Maj Hamza; Flt Lt T O Asaniyi; Flt Lt A A Olufade; Sgt Umar; Sgt Adesina; and Aircraftman Oyedepo.

Nigeria has operated a fleet of three King Air 350i transports since August 2014. The aircraft are assigned to the NAF’s 307 Executive Airlift Group (formerly known as the 209 Executive Airlift Group) at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, which serves the city of Abuja in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory.

Of the three examples delivered to the air arm, two have been written off in fatal crashes in recent months, highlighting a growing attrition rate for the type in Nigerian service. The first incident occurred on February 21, 2021, when King Air 350i – serial NAF201 – crashed in Abuja, killing all seven onboard.