ACCRA (Reuters) - A Nigerian cargo jet landed in a pool of water during heavy rains before overshooting the runway at Ghana’s Accra airport on Saturday, authorities said on Sunday.
The Boeing 727-200, operated by Allied Air cargo, rammed through the airport fencing and crashed into two cars on a nearby street, killing at least 10.
“What we know for now is that it was raining at the time and the plane landed in a pool of water and that created some challenges to the pilot,” Doreen Owusu Fianko, managing director of Ghana Airports Company told reporters during a visit to the crash site by President John Atta Mills.
Fianko said a joint team including external aviation experts would be announced later on Sunday to begin investigations into the crash.
The plane which had taken off from Lagos in Nigeria, failed to stop at the end of the runway and crashed into a taxi cab and mini-bus on a nearby street just after 1900 GMT.
Fianko said the plane was carrying general goods including textiles, perfumes and clothing from Nigeria to the Ivory Coast via Accra.
All four crew, including two pilots survived the crash. “They are all in good health and are receiving treatment at the clinic,” Fianko said.
A Reuters witness saw a badly mangled minivan and ten bodies next to the crashed plane, which had parts of its nose, wing and undercarriage torn off.
The airport perimeter wall near the road was smashed. Ambulances, police and military security had cordoned off the area.
A doctor at the airport medical clinic near the runway said he heard “a loud bang and screeches” and then went outside, where he saw a plume of smoke rising from the accident site.
Operations at the airport remained normal with all flights on schedule, Fianko said.
Saturday’s crash was the first in decades in Ghana whose airspace has a fairly high safety record, compared with other countries in the West Africa region.
Editing by Bate Felix