Air crash officials fired

NIGERIAN PRESIDENT Olusegun Obasanjo has suspended two senior officials following a plane crash on Saturday December 10, which killed over 100 people.

Four of the seven survivors of the crash have since died. It was Nigeria’s second air disaster in less than two months. A statement issued by the president’s office said the permanent secretary in the aviation ministry, Tommy Oyelade, and another senior official had been sent on indefinite leave. “Unless we do something and do it fast, people will lose confidence in the industry,” Obasanjo said as he visited the crash site on Monday.

Investigators have begun sifting through the wreckage of the DC-9, which overshot the runway in Port Harcourt and burst into flames killing 106 people.

A memorial service is being held for the victims who included 70 pupils from the same secondary school. Many of the pupils’ families had been at Port Harcourt’s airport to collect their children and witnessed the crash in the capital of Nigeria’s main oil-producing region. Other victims included a French and US national who worked for the aid agency, Medecins Sans Frontieres.

The privately run Sosoliso Airlines, which owned the plane, began operating as a domestic airline in the year 2000 and now flies to six Nigerian cities. The president, said to be deeply saddened by the accident, cancelled a visit to Portugal to deal with the air disaster.