Sunday, October 29, 2006

ADC plane crash in Abuja on the way to Sokoto

Very, very upsetting news. I am terrified that someone I know was on that flight, as several of my friends travel regularly between Sokoto and Abuja. I met the Sultan of Sokoto, the spiritual leader of Islam in Nigeria, once. He was a very kind and measured man, who has a reputation for great wisdom. He took steps for peacemaking between Muslims an Christians, made statements about the need for HIV education, etc. This is a great loss.

Nigerian plane crash kills 100
Sun Oct 29, 2006 7:40 PM GMT

By Estelle Shirbon

ABUJA (Reuters) - A Nigerian passenger jet crashed shortly after takeoff from the capital Abuja on Sunday, killing about 100 people including the leader of the nation's 70 million Muslims.

An ADC Airlines official said 105 people were on board the Boeing 737 flight to the northern city of Sokoto when it ploughed into a corn field about 2 km (1 mile) from the runway.

No more than five people survived the crash, Nigeria's third major aviation disaster in just over a year.

A Reuters correspondent saw burnt bodies, some missing limbs or heads, being loaded onto trucks from the smouldering remains of the fuselage.

Only the plane's tail, an engine and part of a wing were still recognisable at the crash site, an area the size of a football field littered with body parts, smouldering fires, clothes, boxes and bags.

"The smell is something you don't want to remember," said Steve Noble, a British diplomat at the scene.

Ibrahim Muhammadu, the leader of the Muslim community, about half of Africa's most populous nation, was among the dead.

"The plane crash that happened in Abuja led to the death of our beloved Sultan ... among about 100 people," the governor of Sokoto state, Attahiru Bafarawa, told reporters.

Bafarawa declared six days of mourning for Maccido.

Maccido, who as Sultan of Sokoto was also the top traditional ruler of northern Nigeria, helped to curb religious bloodshed in the central state of Plateau in 2004.


Five possible survivors were rushed to a hospital in Abuja. Two were in critical condition, an ambulance driver said.

The minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir el-Rufai, said the crash took place in bad weather but added that only a detailed investigation could determine the cause.

ADC is a popular domestic airline with an ageing fleet of Boeing jets.

It was the fourth significant air crash in Nigeria in just over a year.

(for the rest of the article, see here.)

Update: 5:05pm. Now the news is that there are 7 survivors, 99 dead. Here is a link to some photos.

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