3rd June, 2012
Ghana’s police battled Sunday to control crowds flocking to the site of a plane crash in Accra where debris remained scattered after a cargo plane that overshot the runway hit a bus and killed at least 10 people.
Rescue workers and security services immediately cordoned off the site near a stadium and military barracks after the Boeing 727 Allied Air crashed on Saturday night.
The deployment remained heavy on Sunday.
Sirens blared as the police tried to contain the chaos caused by hundreds of residents trying to spot the badly damaged bus, as well as the plane’s wing and tail, which had completely broken off from the body.
“I have never seen anything like in my life before,” John Asiedu, one of the onlookers, told AFP.
Ghanian President John Atta Mills visited a clinic at the airport on Sunday, where some of those injured had been taken for treatment.
“I pray that all of you have survived and wish you speedy recovery,” he said, but did not speak directly to reporters.
The crew of the flight that took off from the Nigerian economic capital survived but at least 10 people in the bus were killed, officials said.
“Flight number DHV 111, cargo aircraft, operating from Lagos to Accra, has overshot the runway on landing on Saturday June 2, at 7:10 pm local time,” Ghana’s airport operator said in a statement.
It added that “the crew of four people on board all survived the accident” and were taken to a nearby clinic for treatment.
“The aircraft collided with a minivan, resulting in 10 confirmed fatalities,” it said.
The bodies of those killed were taken to a morgue at a nearby military hospital where a crowd gathered late Saturday, trying to identify the dead, an AFP reporter said.
Ghana’s Vice President John Dramani Mahama told reporters at the airport 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 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, 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