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10 Dec 2005 21:50
A Nigerian jetliner carrying 110 passengers and crew crashed on Saturday as it approached a southern city in stormy weather, killing 103 people. Seven people survived, officials said.
The Sosoliso Airlines DC-9 from Abuja went down at midday on Saturday as it approached Port Harcourt, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority spokesperson Sam Adurogboye said.
An airport worker described a horrific scene: “The place where I’m standing now is scattered with corpses.”
The dead—“many of them burned beyond recognition”—were being evacuated to mortuaries, he said, refusing to give his name.
He said the plane shattered into pieces on impact.
Reports said the plane apparently overshot the runway during a thunderstorm.
Adurogboye said seven people were rescued and taken to hospital.
“They were breathing and were taken to hospital.
He did not say if they were passengers or crew members.
Nigerian airports have come under criticism in recent months following a string of near-misses—including one at Port Harcourt in which an Air France passenger jet crashed into a herd of cows on the runway.
International airlines 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 exact cause of that crash remains unclear, but United States investigators sent to help with the investigation ruled out terrorism, an official at Nigeria’s aviation ministry said last month.
Nigerian-owned Sosoliso Airlines was established in 1994. It began scheduled flights as a domestic airline in July 2000 and now flies to six Nigerian cities, according to its website.—Sapa-AP
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