The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) plane, a Dornier 228, that crashed into the old site of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) Barracks in Kaduna, according to witnesses, wobbled several times in the air before crashing.
The light military plane went down with the pilot, co-pilot, two engineers and three passengers on board and all seven died.
The plane took off from Dana Airport, operated by NAF in Kaduna, came down some minutes later at the Kantoma Army Barracks, otherwise known as the NDA Barracks, around 6.45 am.
The plane crashed on top of a residential building, killing seven persons on board including the four crew members and three passengers but the injured persons on ground were taken to the military hospital.
According to a military source, “less than two minutes after take-off, the plane developed engine fault and the pilot tried to land it, but it was not possible and so they crashed on top of the building.”
At least two witnesses told our correspondent that he watched the plane as it wobbled several times in the air before it finally crashed on top of the building.
Some ground victims at the crash site who sustained various degrees of injuries as a result of the accident, are reportedly receiving medical attention at the military hospital in Kaduna.
NAF confirmed the accident later saying, the plane with call sign NAF030 crashed onto the house at Ribadu Cantonment, Kaduna.
Air Commodore Dele Alonge, Director of Public Relations and Information of the Nigerian Air Force, said in a statement “though no casualty was recorded on ground, there were no survivors among the passengers on board 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.”
The Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar postponed 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.”
Simultaneously, Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, who received the news with shock and sadness, commiserated with the families of the persons killed in the plane crash.
The statement said the governor also condoled with the Chief of Air Staff, and the officers and men of the Nigerian Air Force over the crash.
The statement quoted the governor as saying, “I received the news of the plane crash in Kaduna with sadness. We offer our deep condolences to the families who have been bereaved by this incident.
“May Almighty God in His infinite mercy grant their souls eternal rest and uphold their families in this moment of grief and sorrow.”
Last night, CAS Air Vice Marshal Sadique Abubakar expressed deep pain over the crash, saying an investigative panel had been constituted to investigate the immediate and remote causes of the sad incident.
Addressing newsmen at 97 Special Operations Group, Air Force Base, Port Harcourt, after a visit to the scene of the incident in Kaduna, said it was tragic, adding that he will not want to pre-empt the outcome of the findings of the panel set up to unravel the circumstances, after consoling the families of those involved in the crash.
In his words, the NAF Chief said, “These are some of the hazards associated with flying. We have set up a board to find out the immediate and remote causes of the accident. We will look at the report of that board to see the cause. It was a very tragic one. I have gone to condole with the families, the pilots that were involved in the accident. I don’t want to pre-empt the findings of the board we set up to come up with its findings.”
Fielding questions from newsmen, he said he was in Port Harcourt to charge the fighting spirit of his men against oil theft and illegal oil bunkering, adding that the Air Force has acquired a marine patrol aircraft to enhance its operations around the marine environment of the country.