Authorities in Kaduna State on Tuesday, confirmed the death of a British pilot and a maintenance engineer on the outskirts of the state capital, where their plane, on a test flight became faulty and crash landed near a river.
According to a farmer who was close to the scene of the incident, Mallam Muhammad Musa, the ill-fated plane hovered in the sky for over 40 minutes and crash landed in his farm at the Barakallahu area of Rigachikun village in Igabi Local government area of Kaduna State.
“As the plane crash landed, I, some farmers and soldiers near the scene of incident made frantic efforts to break the screen of the plane but it was too strong for us. We were finding our way out of the place, because we feared the plane might explode when we noticed thick smoke billowing out of the plane. It was sad as we saw the victims struggling before they finally died but there was nothing we could do,” he said.
The Director, Search and Rescue of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Air Commodore Bankole, said the Bureau for Accident Investigation was yet to give the technical details of the accident and expressed shock over the tragedy.
Similarly, the Director General of NEMA, Alhaji Mohammed Sani Sidi, said they were in a meeting when information about the plane crash reached them but before they could get to the scene, the aircraft had burnt beyond rescue while those inside had died.
“We understand that there were two people inside, one British and one Nigerian. The aircraft formerly belonged to the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan. It is being maintained by Dornier here in Kaduna. So that is the information we have as at now,” he said.
Also speaking on the incident, the director general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr Harold Demuren, said the Dornier 228 aircraft was on a test flight in the area before it crashed.