Two Nigerian Air Force (NAF) F-7Ni aircraft taking part in the aerial display rehearsals to mark Nigeria’s 58th independence anniversary celebrations were involved in an air collision incident on Friday, 28 September 2018. The two Air Force jets crashed during the rehearsal for Nigeria’s October 1 Independence day air parade.
Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, the Nigerian Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) disclosed to the media that three pilots ejected from the aircraft which crashed in the general area of Katamkpe Hill, in Abuja, the country’s capital. However, one of the pilots later died due to complications from injuries sustained upon impact on the ground. Although there were no civilian casualties.
According to an eye witness report, “the two planes touched wings, one nosed down after loosing control, the first pilot ejected. Plane plummeted with a huge ball of fire. Second tried to recover the plane, lost control and crashed around a hill with another ball of fire. Second pilot was also able to eject. It’s heart warming to hear both pilots ejected.”
The Chengdu J-7 (export version F-7 and NATO reporting name: Fishcan) is a People’s Republic of China license-built version of the Soviet Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21. It is mostly as an interceptor, in several air forces. In early 2008, Nigeria procured 12 F-7NI fighter jets and three FT-7NI jet trainers to replace the existing fleet of MiG-21 aircraft. The first batch of F-7s arrived in December 2009.