The flight origin was Jeddah. No, the passengers did not go there for business or tourism, they went for pilgrimage; not only to fulfil one of the five pillars of Islam, but also to pray for themselves, their love ones and the nation. Unbeknownst to many of them that they would not step foot on the beloved nation again. ACEGIST’s Nigeria This Week In History soberly reflects on the unfortunate Kano plane mishap of 22 January, 1973.
193 passenger and 9 crew took off from King Abdulaziz Int’l Airport Jeddah on a Boeing 707 chartered by the Nigeria Airways to fly Muslim pilgrims back from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to Lagos, Nigeria.
The American pilot of the two year old plan, John Waterman, was supposed to land at the then Ikeja International Airport (now Murtala Muhammad International Airport) Lagos, but due to bad weather, he was redirected to Kano International Airport.
Harmattan in Nigeria is usually severe in January, especially in the northern part. So it was then, and it came with high wind. After touchdown, the right main gear collapsed as it hit a depression in the run way (or the edge of the runway.) The Boeing turned 180 degrees, skidded off the side of the runway and caught fire.
The summary of the cause of crash was given to be; landing gear collapse and bad weather.
A total of 176 people (170 passengers and six crew members) died in the crash. While there were 26 survivors.
There was however a story of a boy, whom while people were grieving over the death of their love ones, decided to be stealing from the dead. The relatives of the dead were said to be so angry that the boy was beaten to death on the spot.
This was indeed another dark moment in the history of Nigeria, we can only pray that the dead will continue to rest in peace.
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