ACCRA, GHANA (BNO NEWS) — A Nigerian cargo plane overshot a runway in the Ghanaian capital on late Saturday and tore through a minibus before coming to a stop, killing at least ten people on the ground and injuring several others, officials said on Sunday.
The accident happened at around 7:10 p.m. local time when the Allied Air aircraft was attempting to land at Kotoka International Airport in Accra, the capital of Ghana. It had earlier departed Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Nigeria’s economic capital Lagos with four crew members on board.
Witnesses said the aircraft overshot the runway and smashed through a fence before hitting the Mercedes-Benz 207 minibus, which was traveling on a road that runs along the end of the airport’s only runway. It dragged the vehicle until it came to a halt along the El-Wak sports stadium.
Police said all ten people on board the bus were killed when it was struck by the cargo plane, and there were unconfirmed reports that a person on a motorcycle was also killed. The Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said the aircraft’s four crew members were rushed to the airport’s clinic where they were still being treated on Monday, but their conditions were not believed to be life-threatening.
Ghanaian President John Atta Mills visited the scene of the accident on Sunday morning and promised the necessary government intervention. He also visited the Emergency Operation Center (EOC) at the scene and the airport’s clinic where he met with the four injured crew members, whom he wished a speedy recovery.
Meanwhile, Transport Minister Alhaji Collins Dauda has formed a five-man team to determine the cause of Saturday’s accident. The team is led by Captain Alec Grant Sam, who was one of the first trained Ghanaian pilots. He will be responsible to determine the cause of the accident and make recommendations to avoid similar accidents in the future.
Although poor visibility due to heavy thunderstorms hit Accra on Saturday evening, the cause of the accident was not immediately clear. The pilot of the Allied Air cargo plane, which was largely intact after the crash but sustained heavy damage to its wings and landing gear, reportedly told investigators that the aircraft’s brakes had failed upon landing.
Ghana, a small country in West Africa with more than 25 million people, has never had a major aviation accident and Saturday’s crash is believed to be the country’s worst. Airlink flight 200, a Fokker F-27 carrying 52 people, crashed at Kotoka International Airport in June 2000, killing six people and injuring several others. Among those killed was one American and one Swiss citizen.
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