The Sultan of Sokoto Mohammadu MaccidoNigerian sultan among crash dead

The Sultan of Sokoto Mohammadu Maccido and his son, a senator, and other northern leaders were on board the ADC airlines flight to the city of Sokoto.

The plane crashed in a storm shortly after take-off, state radio said. Four people have reportedly survived.

This is Nigeria's third major air disaster in a little over a year.

The BBC's Alex Last in Nigeria says twisted, smouldering remnants of the plane litter the crash site on the edge of Abuja airport.

Eyewitnesses said they heard shouts for help from many survivors but they were unable to help because the plane was engulfed in flames.


Sokoto State government spokesman Mustapha Sheu said that the northern state's deputy governor, education commissioner and another senator were killed, along with the sultan and his son.

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Sokoto State Governor Attahiru Bafarawa announced five days of mourning for the sultan and the other victims of the crash.

People have converged in front of the sultan's palace, some in tears.

The sultan is due to be buried shortly.

Nigeria's Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) secretary-general Lateef Adegbite described the sultan's death as a tragedy, reports the AFP news agency.

"We are devastated by the tragic plane crash. It has left the Muslim faithfuls without leadership," he said.

"President Olusegun Obasanjo is deeply and profoundly shocked and saddened by the news of the reported air crash," presidential spokeswoman Oluremi Oyo said in a statement.

The president has ordered an investigation, she said.

AP news agency says that the plane was a Boeing 727.

Poor safety

After visiting the crash site, Federal Territory Minister Mallam Nasir el-Rufai told the BBC that the condition of the plane was "deplorable", with "bald tyres".

The government had already announced a major plan to overhaul the aviation industry and improve safety following last year's disasters, which killed more than 200 people.

Several airlines were grounded while safety checks were carried out.

ADC planes were not involved in last year's crashes.

The president himself blamed corruption and corner-cutting for poor safety standards.

Last month 10 senior army commanders were killed when their military plane crashed.

Our correspondent says that air travel in Nigeria has boomed in recent years, but this crash will raise further questions as to how these safety reforms are being implement.


ABUJA, Nigeria (CNN) -- A Boeing 737 operated by Nigerian airline ADC crashed Sunday near the Abuja airport shortly after takeoff, airport and government officials told CNN.

The plane was still on fire at the edge of the runway, hours after it crashed around noon local time (6 a.m. ET).

It is believed to have been carrying at least 100 people and there may be some survivors, a senior source with Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo's office told CNN's Jeff Koinange.

The aircraft was heading to the northern Nigerian state of Sokoto and may have been carrying the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Mohammadu Maccido, the highest ranking official of the Muslim state, the senior source said.

According to ADC's Web site, Flight 53 was scheduled to take off from Abuja at 10:35 a.m. local time and land in Sokoto one hour later.

Nigeria has a poor air safety record, with at least 11 crashes since 1995, killing more than 470 people.

On October 23, 2005, a Bellview Airlines plane went down in bad weather near Lagos, killing all 117 people on board.

An aircraft operated by Sosoliso Airlines crashed in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, on December 10, killing all 108 on board including many schoolchildren.

ABUJA (Reuters) - A Nigerian passenger aircraft with more than 100 people on board crashed on Sunday shortly after takeoff from the capital Abuja, media and emergency sources said.

The plane, operated by the Nigerian airline ADC, burst into flames and casualties were expected, a security source said. It was en route from the capital to the northern city of Sokoto.

The local radio station Ray Power FM called on doctors to rush to the scene.

"It crash-landed after takeoff. It was an ADC aircraft from Abuja to Sokoto with over 100 people on board," a source in the National Emergency Management Agency said, asking not to be named.

ADC is a popular domestic passenger airline.

It was the third major air crash in Nigeria in just over one year.

Plane crash near Nigeria capital
A passenger jet has crashed near the Nigerian capital, Abuja, police say.

Doctors were urged to go to the airport after the plane, on an ADC airlines flight to Sokoto, went down. More than 100 people were on board.

At least 200 people died in two air disasters last year, leading many to question the safety of Nigerian planes.

After the disasters, several airlines were grounded while safety checks were carried out. ADC planes were not involved in last year's crashes.

Last month 10 senior army commanders were killed when their military plane crashed.


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