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Relatives Besiege Abuja Airport: Odili Hurries back to Port Harcourt

Posted by From Fidelis Elema and Onwuka Nzeshi in Abuja on 2005/12/10 | Views: 810 |

Relatives Besiege Abuja Airport: Odili Hurries back to Port Harcourt


Barely six weeks after an Abuja bound Bellview airplane crashed at Lisa, Ogun State, killing all passengers on board, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja was yesterday besieged by anxious persons who came in search of information on the state of passengers on board a Sosoliso Airline plane which reportedly crashed in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Barely six weeks after an Abuja bound Bellview airplane crashed at Lisa, Ogun State, killing all passengers on board, the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja was yesterday besieged by anxious persons who came in search of information on the state of passengers on board a Sosoliso Airline plane which reportedly crashed in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Details of the accident was sketchy as at press time, but THISDAY learnt the plane which had no fewer than 110 persons on board ran into a heavy thunder storm as it made to land at the Port Harcourt Inter-national Airport.

Another aircraft in the fleet of Chanchangi Arilines was said to have narrowly escaped the same thunder storm minutes before the ill fated Sosoliso plane got to the tarmac. An official of the Sosoliso Airline who craved anonymity, blamed the accident on the heavy rains that made visibility poor and landing difficult.

THISDAY checks further revealed that the crashed plane, which originated from the Abuja Airport was scheduled to have left Abuja at 10.00am yesterday but the flight was delayed until about 12.30pm due to the monthly environmental sanitation exercise said to have been taking place in Port Harcourt.
About 46 students of a popular college in Abuja, who were reportedly traveling to Port Harcourt for the Christmas holidays were said to have been among those, who died in the crash.

Governor Peter Odili of Rivers State was spotted at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja in a convoy hurrying to the local wing of the airport where he was billed to catch a flight back to Port Harcourt to enable him take care of the emergency situation. Most people who thronged the airport wore mournful looks as they frantically searched for officials of
the airline to ascertain the whereabouts of their loved ones. They were however disappointed as officials of Sosoliso Airline simply told them the manifest of the crashed plane had been taken away by men of the State Security Service (SSS).

Visits to the booking kiosk and administrative office of Sosoliso Airline showed that the airline's business had been grounded due to the crash.
There were no booking clerks at the kiosk and a handful of persons stood at the door of its administrative office discussing the incident. A complaints and inquiry desk was opened at the corridor of the office.

THISDAY also visited the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to obtain situation reports but officials of the agency declined comments on the crash.

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