Recently, the whole of Nigeria was thrown into mourning after an Ethiopian Airline crashed just six minutes after its take off on March 10, 2019. A total number of 157 people died in the crash, that is, 149 passengers and eight crew members.
While many Nigerians mourned the death of all these people, they were actually saddened about the fact that two of Nigeria's progressive academic products were involved in the crash. The fact that Pius Adesanmi and Abiodun Bashua were on this unfortunate flight crippled many Nigerians and has won the sympathy of many.
Amidst this saddening incident, it is quite important to reflect on the other airplane crashes that have claimed the lives of many Nigerians over time.
Some of these crashes happened to Nigerian airlines while others affected the airplanes of other countries. All in all, reliving these very touching, teary incidents will go a long way to evaluate how much attention needs to be paid to the aviation sector in Nigeria and all over the world.
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1. McDonnell-Douglas DC-8 (July 1991)
In July 1991, the McDonnell-Douglas DC-8 aircraft was flying 261 hajj pilgrims to Sokoto with the prerogative of Nigeria Airways. The plane crashed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and this can be referred to as one of the worst accidents in commercial aviation's history in Nigeria.
It was said that shortly after take-off, at 2000-3000 feet, there was a problem with the cabin pressure. It was not long after this discovery that there was a burst tire and loss of hydraulics. Soon afterwards, the aircraft lost control and crashed in flames while trying to come back to the tarmac.
It was later revealed that “the aircraft was signed-off as fit for flight, in an unairworthy condition, by the operating flight engineer who had no involvement in the aircraft servicing." For this reason, the cause of the flight was pinned on the human errors at the Nigerian aviation system.
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2. Boeing 707 (January 1973)
In this plane crash, 176 people died. The airplane was chartered by Nigeria Airways to yet again fly pilgrims back from Jeddah to Lagos crashed in Kano airport. Due to the terrible, sour weather at Lagos, the crew had to divert to Kano. Despite this, the aircraft collapsed along the runway centre line. Out of all the people on board, two crew members and 23 occupants were rescued alive.
3. Boeing 737 (October 2005)
In yet another Boeing flight, 117 people died. The Boeing 737 operated by Bellview Airline crashed near Lagos. The Bellview flight 210 had taken off from Lagos at 08:35 pm for a domestic flight to Abuja. The next morning, a wreckage was found about 30 kms north of Lagos. Nothing much is known about the cause of the crash because the Tower lost radio contact with the flight three minutes after takeoff. But in all, bad weather was blamed for the crash.
4. Lockheed C-130H Hercules (September 1992)
In the Lockheed C-130H Hercules airplane operated by Nigerian Airforce which crashed near Lagos, all 158 occupants sadly died. It was said that, after takeoff, an engine failed, then a second engine failure occurred.
The crew tried to abandon the fully-laden plane in the Ejigbo canal, but then a third engine failed as well. This caused the Hercules to lose balance and fall face flat into the swamp. It was said that, at least, 150 Nigerians, 5 Ghanaians, 1 Tanzanian, 1 Zimbabwean, and 1 Ugandan were involved in the plane crash. It was the most fatal accident involving a Lockheed C-130 at the time.
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5. McDonnell Douglas MD-83 (June 2012)
Recently, a Dana plane crash occurred which killed 153 occupants. The flight named McDonnell Douglas MD-83 is a passenger plane, 5N-RAM, operated by Dana Air. It was nearly almost destroyed when it crashed into a residential area of Lagos, Nigeria. All 146 passengers and seven crew members were killed. Even more, six people were found dead inside the buildings that were stuck by the plane.
Indeed, the aviation sector is fraught with sad stories and mournful experiences that cannot be contained with words, or even, tears.
To mourn the sad death of Pius Adesanmi, Nigerians have planned a candlelight procession in his memory.
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