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Nigerian jet crash kills at least 103
(AP)
Updated: 2005-12-11 08:37

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria - A Nigerian jetliner filled with schoolchildren going home for Christmas crashed Saturday while landing during a lightning storm in this delta oil port. At least 103 people were killed, officials said.

An image taken from television footage shows rescue workers at a crash site after a plane crash in Nigeria December 10, 2005.
An image taken from television footage shows rescue workers at a crash site after a plane crash in Nigeria December 10, 2005. [Reuters]
A spokesman for President Olusegun Obasanjo called the disaster "a national tragedy."

Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Sam Adurogboye said early reports indicated that seven people survived the crash of the Sosoliso Airlines' McDonnell Douglas DC-9. Flight 1145 left the capital, Abuja.

"They were breathing and were taken to the hospital. They are responding to treatment," he said.

He did not say if the survivors were passengers or crew members.

In Lagos, Sosoliso spokesman Simbo Olorufemi would only confirm that the crash had occurred, saying, "Most of the passengers might have lost their lives."

The crash was Nigeria's second airplane accident in seven weeks raising questions about air safety in Africa's most populous nation.

An airport worker said burned bodies lay across the landing area after the plane broke into pieces.

"The place where I'm standing now is scattered with corpses," the worker said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Frantic family members at the airport said the plane was carrying 75 pupils heading home from Abuja for Christmas. The pupils, students at the Loyola Jesuit School, were between 12 and 16 years old.

"It is a national tragedy for us," Obasanjo spokesman Femi Fani-Kayode said. "We need to take all the necessary measures to make sure this sort of thing stops happening."
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