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Crash Pilot 'ignored storm advice'
Crash pilot 'ignored storm advice'
POSTED: 1017 GMT (1817 HKT), October 30, 2006

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) -- The pilot of a Nigerian airliner that crashed a day earlier did not heed air traffic controllers' advice to wait for stormy weather to clear before taking off, the minister of aviation said Monday. The pilot was among 96 people killed in the crash; nine people survived.

While Aviation Minister Babalola Borishade did not directly blame pilot error in the third mass-casualty jet crash to hit this West African nation in less than a year, he said officials would move to try to curb pilots' power to ignore advice from the control tower.

Late Sunday, investigators found one of two black boxes from the Boeing 737 owned by a private Nigerian airline, Aviation Development Co. Borishade said all of ADC's planes were grounded indefinitely and its flying license was suspended. (Watch the scene at hospital near crash site -- :55 )

The airline last suffered a crash in November 1996, when one of its jets plunged into a lagoon outside Nigeria's main city, Lagos, killing all 143 aboard.

Sunday, the aircraft was carrying 100 passengers and five crew when it went down just moments after taking off from Nigeria's capital on Sunday. The airline said 96 people died, including the pilot, and nine were hospitalized in Abuja. (Map)

"The pilot of the unfortunate accident refused to take advantage of the weather advice and the opinion of the (control) tower to exercise patience and allow the weather to clear for a safe take off," Borishade said at a news conference. (Watch the wreckage that nine people survived -- 1:52 )

"The discretionary power of the air crew to override advice from the tower has been largely responsible for unfortunate consequences in the history of air mishaps in this country," Borishade said. "The federal government has directed the National Civil Aviation Authority to look into this and prepare appropriate guidelines to stop this reckless abuse of crew discretionary power ... to ensure safety."

The minister said conditions at the time included rain, gusty winds, thunder and lightning, and that controllers thought the weather would worsen.

"The air traffic controller re-emphasized the deteriorating weather condition and gave wind checks, which they (crew) acknowledged," he said.

Rowland Iyayi, head of the National Air Space Management Agency, said a Virgin Airlines flight that had been on the runway at about the same time as the ADC flight did not take off because of strong winds.

Asgus Ozoka, who heads Nigeria's Accident Investigation and Prevention Bureau, said one of the plane's black boxes was recovered late Sunday and handed over to police officials involved in the investigation. It was not immediately known whether it was the flight data recorder or the cockpit voice recorder.

Among those confirmed dead was Nigeria's top Muslim leader, Muhammadu Maccido. Maccido was sultan of the northern state of Sokoto and headed the National Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in Nigeria, which announces when Muslim fasts should begin and end, and decides issues of policy for Nigeria's overwhelmingly Sunni Muslims. About half of Nigeria's 130 million people are Muslims.

Maccido's body was flown to the northwest city of Sokoto, about 800 kilometers (500 miles) northwest of Abuja, where thousands of people were gathered at the airport, and buried late Sunday in accordance with Islamic custom. The Sokoto state government declared six days of mourning.

The plane bound for Sokoto crashed at 10:29 a.m. (0929 GMT), one minute after taking off from Abuja airport, said Sam Adurogboye, an Aviation Ministry spokesman.

Rescue workers at the scene Sunday found debris from the plane, body parts and passengers' luggage strewn over an area the size of a soccer pitch. The plane went down in a tree-filled field inside the sprawling airport compound about 3 kilometers (2 miles) from the runway. Smoke rose from the aircraft's mangled and smoldering fuselage. Its tail, hanging from a tree, was one of the few recognizable parts of the 23-year-old Boeing 737-2B7.

Nigeria's air industry is notoriously unsafe. Last year, two planes flying domestic routes crashed within seven weeks of each other, killing 224 people.

On October 22, 2005, a Boeing 737-200 plane belonging to Bellview airlines crashed soon after takeoff from the country's main city of Lagos, killing all 117 people aboard. On December 10, a McDonnell Douglas DC-9 plane operated by Sosoliso Airlines crashed while approaching the oil city of Port Harcourt, killing 107 people, most of them school children going home for Christmas.

Earlier this month, authorities released a report blaming the Sosoliso crash on bad weather and pilot error. The investigation of the Bellview crash is still continuing.

After last year's air crashes, President Olusegun Obasanjo vowed to overhaul Nigeria's airline industry, blaming some of the industry's problems on corruption. Airlines were subjected to checks for air-worthiness and some planes considered unworthy were grounded.
Posts: 2568 | Location: USA | Registered: Sun April 07 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The tower should just be able to rescind or hold back takeoff clearance.

I'll never understand these types of pilots. They're usually the ones who think they're gods of the air and can get through anything. Even if they don't care about their passenger lives don't they care about their own?

"Those Who Don't Learn From The Past Are Doomed To Repeat It."
Posts: 181 | Registered: Sun July 09 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Good points, Murray. Hope all is well with you and your family.

Posts: 2568 | Location: USA | Registered: Sun April 07 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Its going. Slowly, but it's going. Hopefully you guys South of my border will give me some good news tomorrow night (and Bush some bad news)

"Those Who Don't Learn From The Past Are Doomed To Repeat It."
Posts: 181 | Registered: Sun July 09 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Construction always goes slowly. As for the election, the voters have spoken.
Posts: 2568 | Location: USA | Registered: Sun April 07 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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