Mon, Oct 30, 2006
Third Major Civil Aviation Disaster In One Year
In its third major
civil aviation disaster in a year, Nigeria is mourning the loss of
at least two senators, a state deputy governor, and the top Muslim
leader of the country. The ADC Airlines Boeing 737-200 crashed on
take-off from the capital city of Abuja during a rainstorm, killing
at least 97 passengers and crew. Seven passengers are believed to
have survived, according to the latest CNN report.
The spiritual leader of Nigeria's 70 million Muslims (about half
the population), the Sultan of Sokoto Alhaji Mohammadu Maccido, was
among those killed in the crash, according to a senior source with
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo's office. He was believed
to have a major influence on the fielding of
Muslim political candidates in Nigeria's upcoming
The plane was scheduled to arrive in the northern state of
Sokoto after about an hour's flight.
This most recent crash will certainly make it more difficult for
Nigeria to get permission to land its aircraft in Europe and the
US. Nigeria's notoriously poor safety
record is due to be reviewed by the International
Civil Aviation Council next month.
The country has been plagued by numerous aviation accidents that
the head of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency called
“systemic failures” in both infrastructure and aviation
safety procedures. It is widely believed that the country will not
reach the standards demanded by the aviation auditors and be denied
landing rights in Europe and the US.
This latest crash comes a month after ten senior army generals
and three others were killed in a military transport accident. Last year, 117 people died in
October when a Bellview Airlines Boeing 737 crashed shortly after
takeoff from Lagos. In December, 106 people, half of them children,
crashed on landing on a Sosoliso Airlines DC9 in Port Harcourt.
Both accidents are at least partly blamed on lax safety
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