Flight officer Tolulope Arotile, the first ever female combat helicopter pilot in Nigeria, is dead. She was barely 23 years old.
Nigeria’s first female helicopter gunship pilot, who died at 23, was seen on video with President Buhari. She was also interviewed.
Arotile died as a result of head injuries sustained from a road traffic accident at Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Base Kaduna.
Her death comes just a year after she became a combat helicopter pilot in the Air force after completing her course in South Africa.
Confirming the accident, NAF Director of public relations and information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola said that until his death, flight officer Arotile, who was inducted into the NAF in September 2017 as a member of the regular course 64 of the Nigerian Military Academy, was the first female combat helicopter pilot in the service.
He said: “during her short but impressive tenure, the late Arotile, originally from Iffe in the Ijumu local government area of Kogi state, made a significant contribution to efforts to rid the North-Central States of armed bandits and other criminal elements by flying several sorties as part of operation Gama Aiki in Minna, Niger state.
“Air force chief of staff air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, on behalf of the NAF officers, airmen, pilots and civilian personnel, expresses his condolences to the family of the late flight officer Arotile for this irreparable loss. We pray that Almighty God will grant her soul eternal rest.”
Shehu Sani mourns Nigeria’s first female helicopter pilot.
Tolulope Arotile was a bright star who broke down barriers and defied conventions. She raced through the unknown and scary part and strengthened the d-tape in victory. She didn’t want to be bothered by the ceiling and the sky. She was a woman who had conquered the impossible and unimaginable. RIP.