ACCRA  (AFP)

 


Grieving family members gathered at a morgue in Ghana’s capital Accra on Sunday after a cargo plane overshot an airport runway and crashed into a passenger bus, killing at least 10 people.

President of Ghana Atta Mills (L) arrives at the scene where a cargo plane lies on the ground after overshooting the runway at the airport in Accra on June 3, 2012. A cargo plane crash-landed near the airport in Ghana's capital Accra after overshooting the runway and hit a bus on the ground, killing at least 10 people, but the crew survived, officials said. AFP PHOTO

The four crew members from the Boeing 727 Allied Air cargo plane survived Saturday night’s accident, and Ghanaian President John Atta Mills visited at least two of them at the clinic where they were being treated.The two men were in hospital beds as the president arrived, one with visible bruises on his arm and face.

“I pray that all of you have survived and wish you speedy recovery,” Mills said, but did not speak directly to reporters.

At a military hospital morgue where the bodies of victims had been taken, family members gathered to identify remains and spoke of their grief.

“My life has been destroyed,” a teary-eyed Zenab Ayesha, the wife of one of the victims, told AFP. “He was my husband, and the breadwinner of the family is gone.”

She said she heard from a friend that her husband was among the dead.

“I was waiting for him to come back from work and he did not show up,” Ayesha said.

Fred Aneba, who was at the morgue to identify his 27-year-old brother, called his death “a disaster for my family.”

“How will I communicate the death of my brother to our 80-year-old mother? I have lost my only brother,” he said.

The government meanwhile ordered the creation of a committee to investigate the crash, which saw the cargo plane barrel into a minibus in an area near the airport in the capital.

The flight operated by Allied Air, a Nigerian-based firm, had left the Nigerian economic capital Lagos before attempting to land in Accra.

The crash left the minibus destroyed and the plane badly damaged, though its body remained largely intact, allowing the crew members to escape.

Ghanaian police on Sunday sought to control hundreds of residents converging on the site of the crash to gape at the badly damaged bus as well as the plane’s wing and tail, which had broken off from the body.

Sirens blared as the police tried to contain the chaos.

“I have never seen anything like this in my life before,” John Asiedu, one of the onlookers, told AFP.

Ghana’s Vice President John Dramani Mahama told reporters at the airport in the hours after the crash that a thorough investigation would be carried out.

“No early conclusions should be drawn,” he said before heading toward the scene of the accident.

“We should allow investigations to arrive at the actual cause of the accident. But I can assure Ghanaians that the situation is under control.”

A person who answered at a number listed for Allied Air in the Nigerian oil hub of Port Harcourt identified the company as Nigerian-owned but said only officials at the Lagos office could comment on the crash.

Repeated calls to the company’s other listed numbers have gone unanswered.

Tunji Oketunbi of Nigeria’s Accident Investigations Bureau described Allied Air as a small Nigerian cargo airline but declined to comment on the crash.

Ghana’s airport operator, Ghana Airports Company Limited, said operations had returned to normal after the crash and that flights were continuing as scheduled.

Kofi Kportufe, head of Ghana’s national disaster management agency, applauded the response of the emergency services.

“We are grateful for the military (and) fire service for the quick response which averted further disaster,” he said. “We want to assure Ghanaians and the entire world that everything is under control. There’s no cause for alarm.”

Ghana, a west African nation of some 24 million people, is not known to have had any recent plane crashes.

 

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