The aircraft, a DC9 operated by Sosoliso, a Nigerian airline, was on its way from Abuja, the capital, to Port Harcourt in the southern Niger Delta. It crash-landed at the airport during a storm, broke into pieces and burst into flames, witnesses said.
An airport worker, who did not wish to give his name, said: “I was at the helipad when the plane came in … There was thunder … I saw the plane break into three and then fire engulfed it and it started burning.”
Seven of the 110 people on board – 103 passengers and seven crew – survived.
A mother awaiting news of her child said 75 of those on board were high-school students from the Loyola Jesuit College in Abuja. She said the school had told her this.
Seven weeks ago a plane operated by Bellview, another Nigerian airline, crashed near Lagos, the commercial capital, killing all 117 people on board. The cause of that crash has not been established.
The 22 October mid-air disaster
Civil aviation officials said the Sosoliso flight missed the airport runway, but two witnesses said they saw it land on the tarmac. It was not clear exactly what had happened.
Olusegun Obasanjo, the Nigerian president, said after the Bellview crash in October that Nigeria would “plug loopholes” in its aviation sector and strengthen compliance with maintenance standards.
There have been 37 serious aviation accidents in Nigeria since 1991, killing 912 people.