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History, causes and how to prevent plane crash in Nigeria

History, causes and how to prevent plane crash in Nigeria

A plane crash is every air traveller’s nightmare. It’s so unpredictable when it happens and almost always fatal. Like other modes of transportation, plane crashes are often traumatic, with many surviving victims living with the trauma for the rest of their lives.

Nigeria has had its fair share of plane crash incidents. One such incident is the Sosoliso plane crash in 2005, which claimed almost all lives on board the plane except two persons. One of the survivors, Kechi Okwuchi, went ahead to become an America’s Got Talent star but still has to live with the aftermath of the crash.

Plane crash often doesn’t come as a result of one cause but several. Hence, this article will elaborate on these causes and how to prevent future occurrences.

What is a plane crash?

Collinsdictionary.com defines a plane crash as an accident in which an aircraft hits land or water and is damaged or destroyed. It is also known as an aviation accident, a crash is said to have occurred when a person is fatally or seriously injured; and/or when significant damage has been done to the plane. The term also applies when the aircraft goes missing or becomes completely inaccessible.

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History of plane crash in Nigeria

History of plane crash in Nigeria

Nigeria has witnessed several plane crashes within its territory, which have claimed many lives and properties. Below is a timeline of plane crash in Nigeria:

  •  April 12, 1942, the first plane crash in Nigeria occurred at about 8:15 pm on Igbo Ilapa Hill. Igbo Ilapa is a hill located in the Ikogosi town of Ekiti State. Ikogosi is a tourist town where warm and cold spring co-exists on a spot. The crash was during World War II when a cargo plane loaded with ammunition which included explosives, crashed on the hill. The explosion continued for hours after the crash and set the whole forest on fire, destroying everything around there. Till this day, two hole-riddled engines and other body parts of the plane can be found on the hill.
  • June 4 1956, a British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) four-engine Canadair C-4 Argonaut airliner register G-ALHE crashed into a tree after departing from Kano Airport. Three of the seven crew members and 29 of the 38 passengers were killed, while two crew members and two passengers sustained serious injuries.
  • November 20, 1969, the first Nigerian-owned aircraft, a government-owned DC-10 aircraft, crashed in Lagos after returning from London.  Eighty-seven passengers and a crew on board were killed.
  • January 22, 1973, Royal Jordanian Airlines flight 707, carrying 171 Nigerian Muslims returning from Mecca and five crewmen, crashed in Kano. There were no survivors.
  • March 1, 1978, Nigeria Airways F28-1000 crashed in Kano. Sixteen people died.
  • November 28, 1983, Nigeria Airways F28-1000 crashed near Enugu. Fifty-three people on board the plane were killed.
  • December 1988, a Skypower Brandeironte aircraft overshot Ilorin Airport’s runway and killed all passengers on board.
  • February 24, 1990, a British Helicopter crashed in Eket, Akwa Ibom State. All nine people on board were killed.
  • May 21, 1991, a Cessna Citation 550 of Ashaka Cement, Hombe, crashed, and all on board were killed.
  • June 26, 1991, an Okada Air Bac-11 crashed in Sokoto. Three people died.
  • 8 September 26, 1992, Nigerian Air Force AC-130 plane crashed a few minutes after take-off from Lagos. There were no survivors.
  • June 24, 1995, Harka Air Services Tupolev 34 crashed crash-landed in Lagos. Sixteen people were killed.
  • November 13, 1995, Nigeria Airways Boeing 737-2F9 crash-landed in Kaduna. Nine people died.
  • January 17, 1996, the son of Sani Abacha, Ibrahim Abacha,  was killed in a plane crash. The “United Front for Nigeria’s Liberation” claimed responsibility.
  • November 7, 1996, Nigerian Aviation Development Corporation (ADC) Airline Boeing 727-231 flying from Port Harcourt plunged into the Lagos lagoon, killing all onboard.
  • January 31, 1997, Five people were killed when Sky Power Express Airways Embraer 110PIA crashed on landing in Yola.
  • September 12, 1997, NAF Dornier 228-212 in Nguru, Borno State, ran into a ditch during take-off. However, all 10 people on board survived.
  • January 5, 2000, 17 people died when SkyPower Express Airways Bandeirante 110P1A crash-landed in Abuja.
  • October 26, 2000, Dornier Aircraft plunged into a thick bush near the Niger Delta, injuring six people.
  • March 14, 2002, a Joint Task Force (JTF) helicopter crashed in Kabong, Jos, killing all onboard.
  • May 4, 2002, EAS Airlines’ BAC 1-11-500, carrying 105 people, crashed in a densely populated suburb of Kano. Seventeen people on board were killed, while 72 on the ground also died.
  • November 30, 2003, a Cargo aircraft of Hydro Cargo, Brussels, Belgium, crash-landed in Lagos.
  • March 6, 2004, an Aenail spray aircraft belonging to Berfieex Nigeria Ltd, crashed at the Bauchi Airport.
  • July 26, 2004, Pan African Airlines’ helicopter crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in Eacraros, Delta State. Four people on board were killed.
  • December 29, 2004, a Boeing 727 of Chanchangi Airlines belly-landed at the Murtala Mohammed Airport (MMA), Lagos State.
  • December 29, 2004, a Kenya Airlines aircraft crash-landed at the MMA. The gear was faulty.
  • January 28, 2005, a Nigeria Air Force fighter plane crashed into a farm in Yar Kanya, Kano State.
  • February 25, 2005, ADC’s B73 landed in Yola and burnt its tires.
  • March 27, 2005, one of the engines of a Boeing 737 belonging to Bellview caught fire.
  • June 11/12, 2005, a Boeing 727-200 aircraft that belonged to the domestic Chachangi Airlines overshot the runway at the MMA. The previous day, another overshot the runway at the airport in Jos.
  • June 24, 2005, a Russian aircraft belonging to Harka Air crash-landed at the MMA. There were no survivors.
  • July 6, 2005, an Air France A330 plane crashed into a herd of cattle at Port Harcourt airport. Many cows were killed while the plane sustained some damage.
  • July 23, 2005, a Lufthansa aircraft crash-landed at Lagos airport. The plane was badly damaged, but no lives were lost.
  • October 22, 2005, a twin-engine Boeing 737, that belonged to Bellview Airline crashed in Lisa Village, Ogun State. All 117 passengers on board were killed.
  • December 10, 2005, a Port Harcourt-bound Sosoliso Airlines flight 1145 crash-landed in Port Harcourt Airport, killing 109 passengers. Sixty of the passengers were students of Jesuit Loyola College Abuja. Seven people were initially brought out alive but only two people eventually survived. One of the survivors is Kechi Okwuchi, America’s Got Talent star.
  • September 17, 2006, an 18-seater Dornier 228 Air Force transport plane carrying 15 senior army officers and three crewmembers crashed in Benue State. Only three people survived.
  • October 29, 2006, Aviation Development Corporation Airline Boeing 737 crashed minutes after take-off from Abuja airport. 6 out of 104 people on board survived.
  • November 10, 2006, a six-seater helicopter belonging to Odengene Air Shuttle (OAS) crashed in Delta State. Two people died.
  • August 2, 2007, a Bristow-owned helicopter crashed inside ExxonMobil facility in Port Harcourt.
  •  March 15, 2008, a Beechcraft 1900D plane marked 5N-JAH, belonging to Wing Aviation, crashed in Cross River State. The crashed plane was found six months later. Four crew members died.
  • March 8, 2011, HS-125 chartered aircraft crashed in Bauchi. There was no casualty.
  • March 14, 2012, a helicopter conveying the newly promoted Deputy Inspector General of Police, Haruna John, with three other senior police officers crashed in Jos.
  • June 3, 2012, Dana Airlines Flight 9J 992, carrying 153 passengers crashed into Iju-Ishaga, a densely populated area in Lagos. There were no survivors.
  • October 25, 2012, the governor of Taraba State, Danbaba Suntai and five of his aides narrowly escaped death when a Cessna 208 aircraft marked 5N-BMJ and piloted by Suntai, lost contact with the Yola Control Tower 38 miles to landing and crashed into a hill in Adamawa.
  • December 15, 2012,  Governor Patrick Yakowa of Kaduna State and former National Security Adviser to the president, General Owoeye Azazi, alongside two people, were reportedly burnt in a helicopter crash that occurred in the forest of Okoroba community in Nembe local government of Bayelsa State.
  • October 3rd 2013, an aircraft belonging to the Associated Airlines conveying the corpse of the former Ondo State governor crashed minutes after take-off at the local wing of the Lagos Airport. Twenty people on board died.
  • February 21, 2021, a military aircraft belonging to the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) enroute Abuja from Minna, Niger State. There were no survivors.
  • May 21, 2021, the NAF Beechcraft Aircraft crashed enroute to Kaduna Airport from Abuja Airport. All on board, including Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, died.

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Causes of plane crash in Nigeria

Causes of plane crash in Nigeria

According to the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu, 70 per cent of aviation accidents are due to human factors. The following are the major causes of plane crash in Nigeria based on these human errors:

  • Corruption and poor leadership. Private companies in Nigeria are known to avoid complying with government regulations by paying off officials. The authorities are not firm enough to control the systems in terms of certification and regulate private sector activities.
  • Engine failure. Most of the crashes that happened in Nigeria have been attributed to engine failure, especially during landing. Dual engine failure is the major reason for the 2012 DANA plane crash.
  • Bad weather. When the weather is bad, it obstructs the pilot’s view and can affect the plane’s movement. As a result, a crash can happen. Inaccurate weather reports contribute to crashes too. For instance, the disastrous Sosoliso plane crash of 2005 was attributed mostly attributed to bad weather.
  • Poor communication between the cockpit and the control tower. Many airlines in Nigeria don’t have the latest technology for communication.
  • Lack of training of aviation officials.
  • Poor facilities.
  • Fatigue of the flight crew.
  • Poor maintenance of personnel.

How to prevent plane crash in Nigeria

How to prevent plane crash in Nigeria

It’s clear that the major cause of plane crash in Nigeria is based on human error. This means future incidences can be prevented if the right measures are implemented.

All stakeholders in the airline industry must commit to operating airworthy equipment and the efficient regulatory environment by NCAA, which ensures that operators maintain high safety standards as stipulated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The government should also punish defaulters by not hesitating to yank their operating licenses.

Nigeria’s aviation industry has improved greatly over the last five years. There are far fewer incidences of plane crash than there was before 2013. However, more should be done to end plane crash from ever occurring in the country again.

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Nonye is a Thespian, screenwriter, creative writer and an unapologetic lover of books, great movies and sports. She has over 10 years experience in content writing on entertainment, movies, sports and lifestyle. Nonye is currently a content writer at Blackdot Media and founder of litafrik.com
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