BBC News Story:
Families seek Nigeria crash dead

Many of the relatives saw the horrendous crash.

Relatives of more than 100 people who died in a plane crash in Nigeria on Saturday have been gathering at mortuaries to try to identify victims. More than 70 of those killed were pupils from a top secondary school. The plane was travelling from the capital Abuja when it overshot the runway at Port Harcourt during a storm and burst into flames.
Investigators have begun sifting through the wreckage of the DC-9 and analysing the flight data recorders. President Olusegun Obasanjo is to hold an emergency meeting with aviation officials to review air safety.
Clutching photographs, family members have been walking past badly burnt bodies laid out on the mortuary floor at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital.
The bodies, which were still identifiable, had been sprinkled with disinfectant and tagged with numbers, in a room with no refrigeration or air-conditioning.
“All we can do now is bury our dead and mourn,” one man, among hundreds of wailing relatives at the mortuary, told Reuters news agency. “There is so much suffering here.”
A Catholic Archbishop, John Onaiyekan of Abuja, said 71 pupils from Abuja’s Ignatius Loyola Jesuit College died in the crash. Four others had got off the plane during a scheduled stopover in another city, he said.

Many of the pupils’ families had been at Port Harcourt’s airport to collect their children and witnessed the crash. “So you can imagine the great trauma for the parents watching their own children just roasting there in the air crash,” he told news agency AFP.

“It’s a great tragedy for the school.” The fee-paying boarding school has 600 pupils and is one of Nigeria’s most highly-rated schools. The victims also included a French and a US national working for aid agency Medecins Sans Frontieres.
‘Deeply saddened’
The privately-run Sosoliso Airlines, which owned the plane, went into operation as a domestic airline in 2000 and now flies to six Nigerian cities.

The president, said to be deeply saddened by the accident, has cancelled a visit to Portugal to deal with the air disaster, Nigeria’s second in less than two months, and review air traffic safety.
Correspondents say several Nigerian airports have come under criticism in recent months following a string of accidents and near-misses. A Boeing 737 aircraft crashed in October shortly after take-off from the commercial capital Lagos, killing all 117 people on board. The flight recorders from that plane were never found. President Obasanjo had instructed his aviation minister to plug any loopholes to ensure airline safety.

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