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Nigerian flight victims mainly youngsters: parent

Posted by Reuters on 2005/12/10 | Views: 838 |

Nigerian flight victims mainly youngsters: parent


75 of those on board a Nigerian plane which crashed and burst into flames at Port Harcourt airport on Saturday, killing 103 people, were high-school students.

75 of those on board a Nigerian plane which crashed and burst into flames at Port Harcourt airport on Saturday, killing 103 people, were high-school students. This is according to the mother of one of the doomed flight's passengers, who was still awaiting news of her child's fate. She said the children were from a Jesuit college in Abuja.

Civil aviation officials said the Sosoliso Airlines flight from the capital Abuja to the oil city in the southern Niger Delta missed the airport runway in bad weather. Seven of the 110 people on board survived the crash. Officials said 60 bodies had been recovered so far.

The disaster comes seven weeks after a plane operated by another Nigerian airline, Bellview, crashed near the commercial capital Lagos killing all 117 people on board.

President Olusegun Obasanjo said just after the Bellview crash that Nigeria would "plug loopholes" in its aviation sector and strengthen compliance with maintenance standards. An inquiry is under way into the Bellview crash but there is no word yet on the cause and investigators have not found the voice or flight data recorders.

Officials said investigators from the aviation ministry were on their way to the Port Harcourt crash site on Saturday evening, adding the airport was closed to all air traffic.

Experts say most of the country's commercial fleet is over 20 years old and second hand, while runways close regularly due to poor maintenance. It is also not uncommon for planes to take off and land in torrential rain. -

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