26 October 2012

Nigeria: Governor Suntai Survives Plane Crash, in Critical Condition

Photo: This Day
Taraba State Governor, Danbaba Suntai.

Taraba State Governor Danbaba Danfulani Suntai who was rumoured to have died in a self-piloted jet crash yesterday is alive but was said to be in a critical condition.

LEADERSHIP gathered that Governor Suntai, alongside some aides, was immediately evacuated to Federal Medical Centre, Yola, under the direct supervision of the Adamawa State Governor Murtala Nyako.

At the time of going to press, there were conflicting reports as to his actual state of health.

While a source claimed that Suntai died in the crash, Taraba Government House sources said the governor was alive, but unconscious and under intensive care.

LEADERSHIP further gathered that Governor Murtala Nyako was monitoring his injured colleague at the hospital.

A statement from the Ministry of Aviation said the aircraft, a Cessna 208, with people on board, including the crew, operated by the Taraba State governor, crashed near Yola but that no life was reported lost.

The statement disclosed that "the aircraft departed Jalingo, Taraba State for Yola yesterday evening and reported contact with the Yola Control Tower (1720Z) and field in sight at 38 miles estimating landing at 1730Z. The pilot subsequently lost contact with Yola Control Tower and subsequent effort to raise the aircraft failed.

"Search and rescue was immediately activated and site of incident located with all victims alive with various degrees of injuries. The victims have been evacuated to the hospital for treatment pending further investigation of the incident."

Meanwhile, the chief press secretary to Governor Suntai, Malam Hassan Mijinyaya, confirmed that the governor was, indeed, involved in the plane crash alongside some aides, but added that no life was lost.

In a similar vein, the Taraba State Commissioner for Information and Tourism, Emmanuel Bello, assured that everything was under control and there was no need for panic.

The governor had attended pilot training in the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria and another flight training school in the United States in 2010. He is known to fly himself around the state capital in a personal helicopter acquired earlier this year.

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