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Second Nigerian Air Disaster in Seven Weeks Kills 103 People


Nigerian aviation officials say 103 people were killed Saturday when a domestic airliner crashed on landing in the southern city of Port Harcourt. An aviation spokesman, Sam Adurogboye, says seven of the 110 people on board survived the crash.

The passenger jet operated by Sosoliso airlines was trying to land in Port Harcourt on a flight from the capital Abuja Saturday when it apparently burst into flames.

Witnesses said the missed landing came amid stormy weather.

Family members at the airport say the plane was carrying at least 65 secondary school students coming home for the holidays from a Jesuit school in the capital, Abuja

Journalist Paul Okolo says the crash is scaring many Nigerians as it comes just weeks after a yet-to-be explained crash of a Boeing 737 operated by Bellview Airlines killed 117 people after take-off from Lagos.

"It's got many people depressed because we're just after the Belleview air crash in which 117 died and investigations into that incident are still ongoing," he said. "We've not yet found out the cause of the crash. And this one too has gone at this time, raising a lot of concern about the safety of the aviation industry in Nigeria."

Aviation experts say most of Nigeria's commercial fleet is over 20 years old and second hand. Runways often close due to poor maintenance.

Africa accounts for just four percent of worldwide airline traffic, but over a quarter of fatal crashes.

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