Saturday, December 10, 2005
PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria (AP) - A Nigerian jetliner filled with schoolchildren going home for Christmas crashed Saturday while landing during a lightning storm in a delta oil port.
At least 103 people were killed, officials said.
A spokesman for Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo called the disaster "a national tragedy"...
Frantic family members at the airport said the plane was carrying 75 pupils heading home for the Christmas holidays.
Adurogboye said there was stormy weather around the airport at the time of the crash and witnesses said they saw lightning flashes as the plane approached the runway.
Saturday's crash was the second Nigeria airplane accident in seven weeks - raising questions about air safety in Africa's most-populous country of 130 million people...
Nigerian airports have come under criticism in recent months following a string of near-misses and an incident in which an Air France passenger jet crashed into a herd of cows on the runway at Port Harcourt.
International airlines also briefly suspended flights at Lagos' international airport because of holes in the runway.
In October, an Abuja-bound Boeing 737-200 crashed after taking off from the airport at Lagos, Nigeria's biggest city, killing 117 people on board the Bellview Airlines flight.
The cause of that crash is unknown, but U.S. investigators sent to help with the investigation ruled out terrorism, an official at Nigeria's Aviation Ministry said last month.
After the October crash, President Olusegun Obasanjo ordered stricter safety and maintenance procedures for all Nigerian aircraft, directing the aviation ministry to "plug loopholes" to ensure passenger safety.
Plug loopholes? What loopholes could there possibly be when it comes to flying hundreds of miles above ground? Does anyone care?
My heart goes out to the families and friends of the victims.
geez must be a pretty big "loophole" if a Boeing 737 can fit through it
- William Patrick Butler