People and rescuers gather at the site where a Nigerian air force plane crashed while approaching the Abuja airport runway. Picture: Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters
People and rescuers gather at the site where a Nigerian air force plane crashed while approaching the Abuja airport runway. Picture: Afolabi Sotunde/Reuters

’I just saw the whole thing explode, fire and smoke together’: Witness describes Nigerian air force plane crash

By Reuters Time of article published Feb 21, 2021

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By Abraham Achirga

Abuja - A small Nigerian air force passenger plane crashed just outside Abuja airport after reporting engine failure on Sunday, killing all seven people on board, the air force said.

The plane, a Beechcraft King Air 350i, was on its way to the city of Minna, 110 kilometres (68 miles) northwest of the capital, air force spokesman Ibikunle Daramole said in a statement.

The aircraft "crashed while returning to the Abuja Airport after reporting engine failure", said Daramole. "First responders are at the scene. Sadly, all 7 personnel on board died in the crash."

The chief of the air force has ordered an investigation into the accident, Daramole said.

President Muhammadu Buhari in a statement sent his condolences to the air force and families of the victims, saying he was "deeply saddened by the fatal crash".

In scrubland just outside the airport perimeter, dozens of military and airport officials picked through the charred remnants of the fuselage as fire engines and ambulances stood by.

The smell of burning chemicals lingered in the air but no fire or smoke were visible. Onlookers watched the rescue efforts from behind a cordon.

"As he (the plane's pilot) was going down, he struggled to go back to the airport, at the end he just crashed," said Alaba Lawal, who said she witnessed the accident.

"I just saw the whole thing explode, fire and smoke together... When I got there I saw dead bodies on the ground."

The air force did not provide the identities of those killed in the crash.

The Beechcraft King Air 350i is a twin-propeller aircraft made by Textron Aviation, a unit of the U.S.-based Textron Inc conglomerate. The model was first released around 2009.

REUTERS

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