Nigeria’s first female combat pilot Flying Officer Tolulope Arotile, who died at the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Base in Kaduna State on Tuesday, was hit by a car driven by a former classmate who wanted to greet her, the NAF has revealed.
NAF Director of Public Relations and Information Air Com. Ibikunle Daramola said in a statement on Wednesday that the unnamed ex-classmate was reportedly reversing the car when it hit Arotile who fell and hit her head on the tarmac.
Arotile died while receiving treatment at an undisclosed hospital.
“Flying Officer Arotile died on July 14, 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.
“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,” the spokesman said.
Daramola said Arotile joined the NAF out of passion for the job.
Arotile was born on December 13, 1995 in Kaduna, although a native of Kogi State.
She held a bachelor of science degree in Mathematics from the Nigerian Defence Academy and was commissioned into the NAF as a pilot officer on September 16, 2017.
Following completion of her training in South Africa, she was winged as the first-ever female combat helicopter pilot in the NAF on October 15, 2019.