Seven die in Air Force jet crash at Kaduna cantonment …. NATION

Seven die in Air Force jet crash at Kaduna cantonment

•Air Chief launches probe into mishap

The military has launched a proble into yesterday Air Force Jet crash in Kaduna in which seven passangers aboard died. Dornier-228 aircraft belonging to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF)  crashed into a house at the Ribadu Cantonment in Kaduna shortly after takeoff.

The aircraft had taken off from the Kaduna Military Airfield around 06:45 only to come down soon afterward.

The dead included the crew of four and three passengers, according to military sources.

The Air Force itself was not immediately forth coming on the casualty figure and the manifest.

But the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, aborted an official trip to Port Harcourt to visit the scene and the families of the deceased.

He also raised a panel, headed by an Air Vice Marshal to probe the incident.

The  Director, Air Force  Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Dele Alonge, confirmed the development in a statement, saying: “A Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Dornier-228 aircraft, with call sign NAF030, has crashed into a house at Ribadu Cantonment, Kaduna.

“Though no casualty was recorded on ground, there were no survivors among the passengers onboard the aircraft.

“The aircraft was Abuja bound and had taken-off at about 6:45am from the Kaduna Military Airfield before the mishap. Bodies of the passengers have been recovered and fire fighters are already at the crash site to curtail fire from spreading to other buildings within the vicinity.

“Meanwhile, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar has aborted his official trip to Port Harcourt to visit the site of the air crash and families of some of the deceased personnel in company of the Air Officer Commanding Training Command, Air Vice Marshal Alikali Mamu.

“The CAS has also set up an investigation panel headed by an Air Vice Marshal to unravel the cause of the accident with immediate effect.”

A military source however said: “Seven people, including crew members, on board of the aircraft died in the crash.

“Being a military crash, the details will not be released until a technical appraisal is done. The families of those who died had been contacted.”

An eye witness who lives in the cantonment said: “Just before the flight crashed into my neighbours’ houses, I noticed that the aircraft was making an unusual sound. So, I came out to see what exactly it was.

“Then, I saw the plane coming down, only for it to pick up again. But when it came down a second time, it could not go up again. The next thing I heard was a deafening explosion.

“Before I could say jack, it was in flame and the fire gutted my neighbours’ houses. But thank God for the timely intervention of the fire service.

“We thank God that our neighbours are safe. They said all the passengers on board died. It’s very unfortunate.”

Officials of the Kaduna State Fire Service and the  National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) raced to the scene to put out the fire.

They were assisted by sympathisers who thronged the scene.

Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai of Kaduna State commiserated with the families of the victims.

The Governor, in a statement by his spokesperson, Samuel Aruwan said the governor received the news with shock and sadness.

He also condoled with the Chief of the Air Staff, and the officers and men of the Air Force over the crash and prayed for the repose of the souls of the dead.

The accident occurred about two weeks after a Bristow Helicopter flying from an oil rig in Escravos, Delta State, with two crew members and ten passengers, crashed into the Lagos lagoon.