By: Luka Binniyat, Jimoh Babatunde & Daniel Eteghe
KADUNA – A 10-seater aircraft with number N364 UZ, owned by Shoreline International company, crashed on a farm at Barakallahu, close to the National Open University Kaduna, about 4km North of Kaduna Metropolis around 12 noon yesterday killing the crew of two.
Two of the crew members, a Briton and a Nigerian, yet to be named, were burnt to death in the crashed after the plane burst into flames thirty minutes when it came down. It had taken off a few seconds ealier for test-running from the Kaduna old airport..
Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Dr. Harold Demuren, who confirmed the crash, said the ill-fated aircraft was American-registered, adding that it was sold to the new owners by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, IITA, Ibadan.
He said the twin-engine turboprop Beechcraft 350 aircraft was on a single pilot flight when the crash occurred.
When newsmen rushed to the site of the accident, about an hour later, but about 20 minutes before Fire Fighters arrived the scene, the traumatised owner of the farm, Mohammed Musa, told newsmen, that, “ I was working on the farm with my son, when I saw and heard the noisy sound of a plane very low and approaching the ground. Then it crashed with a bang.
“I ran to the plane, to see if I could rescue the occupants. I tried to break open the glass of the door with my hoe”, he said. “But it was a fruitless effort as the hoe bounced back, as if I was hitting a wall. Then a soldier, who was on patrol, ran to the scene. He used the boot of his gun on the door, but it was also a fruitless effort. Both of us made more effort, but the door would not break open. There were two people inside. We could see them through the glass windows. We kept on trying, with no success.
“Then we notice that smoke was coming from the plane. We could see the two people in the plane waving frantically. The smoke was getting worse. We kept on hammering on the door. But the soldier said that we had to leave, that the plane would soon explode.
“So we ran back. And from were we stood, we could see them waving the more. Then the plane burst into flames. It burnt for over an hour. They were long death before you people came. If enough help had arrived in say, 30 minutes, these people would have been alive,” he said.
Another young man, who simply said he was Kevin, and a student of the Open University, told newsman what he saw.
“I saw the aircraft wobbling in the air right above our school; I am surprise it did not crash there,” he said,
Soon after the Fire Brigade arrived in two fire-fighting vehicles. The Fire men sprung into action and started one of the vehicles, with the other parked. But its prayed the burning plane with water for just a few seconds and the pumps failed. It took about five munities to get the pumps working again, to he anger of the huge crowd that had gathered to watch the tragedy.
The men were cursed in the most vile words available by the thousands, but the Police secured them from getting attack by the irate crowd,
After about 15 munities, the fire was put out. The plane burnt plane was cut open to get the burnt bodies out.
The Public Relations Officer of DANA, Bashir Chedi, the maintainers of the aircraft, told journalist that the plane belonged to Shoreline International Oil Company that had come for maintenance, adding that after the maintenance, it was taken for a test-run when it crashed.
He said he was not competent to give technical details.