Six dead after military plane crashes close to runway in Nigeria

Aircraft came down in Abuja after reporting engine failure, says aviation minister

Tom Batchelor
Sunday 21 February 2021 13:33
<p>Unverified video showed fire and smoke at the scene and emergency crews using water cannons to douse the area</p>

Unverified video showed fire and smoke at the scene and emergency crews using water cannons to douse the area

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Six people died when a military plane crashed on Sunday short of the runway in Abuja, Nigeria, after suffering an engine failure, investigators said.

The country’s aviation minister, Hadi Sirika, said the incident involved a twin-turboprop King Air 350 aircraft which “crashed short of our Abuja runway after reporting engine failure enroute Minna”.

He urged people to “remain calm & wait for the outcome of investigation by the military, while we pray for the departed soul/souls if any”.

Unverified video showed fire and smoke at the scene and emergency crews using water cannons to douse the area. 

Nigeria’s Arise News reported that six people were onboard the Nigerian Air Force aircraft – including two crew.

After reporting an engine failure shortly after departure the 11-seater crashed on the final approach path of Abuja’s runway 22.

A statement from the country’s Accident Investigation Bureau provided to Arise News said the aircraft departed Abuja at 10.33am GMT (11.33am local time) with four passengers and two crew.

“Aircraft reported engine failure at time 10.39am [GMT] and crashed landed on the final approach path of Abuja Runway 22 at time 10.48am [GMT],” the statement said.

“Fire services are already at the scene of the accident. All six persons onboard reported dead.”

Minna is a city about 110 kilometres northwest of Abuja.

Africa’s largest economy has seen a series of air accidents in recent decades.

In 2012, 163 people died when a Dana Air plane crashed into an apartment block in Lagos in the country’s worst airline disaster in 20 years.

However Nigeria has a Category 1 rating under the US Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) International Aviation Safety Assessment programme, meaning the country complies with globally accepted safety standards.

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