Rescue operations at the Dana Air crash site
By Ndubuisi Francis
No fewer than 1,613 people have lost their lives in 16 different air mishaps involving aircraft operating within and outside the nation’s airspace with Nigerian passengers on board in the past 43 years.
The first recorded air crash in Nigeria occurred on November 20, 1969 when a Nigeria Airways BAC VC10 crashed on landing in Lagos, killing 87 on board.
Next, on January 22, 1973, a Royal Jordanian Airlines Flight 707 crashed in Kano leading to the death of all 171 Nigerians and five crew members returning from Mecca.
On March 1, 1978, a Nigeria Airways F28-1000 crashed in Kano, killing 16, while another Nigeria Airways F28-1000 airplane on November 28, 1983 crashed on approach to Enugu, killing 53 on board.
Another air mishap occurred on July 11, 1991 with a Nigeria Airways DC-8-61 crashing in Jeddah, killing 261 on board. Just as a Nigerian Air Force Hercules C-130 plane crashed minutes after take-off from Lagos, killing 200 on board. This was on September 26, 1992.
The nation again witnessed an air crash on June 24, 1995 when a Harka Air Services Tupolev 34 crashed on landing in Lagos, killing 16 and on November 13, 1995, a Nigeria Airways Boeing 737-2F9 crashed on landing in Kaduna, killing nine on board.
On November 7, 1996, an ADC Airline Boeing 727-231, flying from Port Harcourt to Lagos with 142 passengers and nine crew members crashed on landing, plunging into a lagoon with all on board killed.
This was followed on January 31, 1997 by a SkyPower Express Airways Embraer 110PIA air crash in Yola, Adamawa State killing five.
Again, on January 5, 2000, a SkyPower Express Airways Bandeirante 110P1A crashed on landing in Abuja, killing 17, while on May 4, 2002 the country witnessed the crash landing of an EAS Airlines' BAC 1-11-500.
On crash landing, the aircraft with 105 people on board burst into flames in a densely populated suburb of Kano. Seventy-seven on board were killed, including 74 on the ground, bringing it to a total 148 dead.
A Bellview Airlines Boeing 737 airliner, with 117 people on board had also on October 22, 2005, crashed and disintegrated mid-air shortly after take-off from Lagos. All the passengers and crew members on board were killed in Lisa village, in Ogun State where the crash occurred.
On December 10, 2005, a Sosoliso Airlines DC-9 also crashed in Port Harcourt, killing all 103 on board. Most of the victims were school children of Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja going home on Christmas holiday.
The nation was to witness yet another air crash on September 17, 2006 when an 18-seater Dornier 228 Air Force transport plane, carrying 15 senior army officers and three crew members, crashed in Vandeikya Hills, Benue State leaving only three survivors who sustained serious injuries.
On October 29, 2006, an ADC Airline Boeing, 737 with 104 passengers and crew members on board crashed minutes after take-off from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja during a rain storm. All but six perished in the mishap.
Among the dead were a former Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammed Maccido, and three serving senators.
The Dana Air crash of June 3, 2012 has so far claimed about 222 lives, including 153 passengers and crew as well as 69 killed on the ground.