Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - Governor Danbaba Suntai of Nigeria's northern Taraba state and five of his aides survived a plane crash in Yola, capital of Adamawa state also in the north, on Thursday night, according to the Ministry of Aviation.
The Governor was piloting the Cessna 208 plane that took off from Jalingo, the Taraba state capital, to Yola when the accident occurred.
Initial reports said the Governor has died, but the ministry later issued a statement clarifying the situation.
''An aircraft, Cessna 208 with 6 souls on board including crew, operated by the Taraba State Government departed Jalingo, Taraba State for Yola this 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,” said the statement, signed by Joel Obi, an aide of the Aviation Minister.
He said Search & Rescue was immediately activated and that site of the crash had been located, with all victims alive with various degrees of injuries.
The ministry said the Governor and the others were evacuated to a specialist hospital in Yola, but PANA learnt on Friday that efforts are being made to fly them abroad.
According to the online Nigerian website Saharareporters, Mr. Suntai is an aviation enthusiast who owns two aircraft and a helicopter.
It said the governor obtained a pilot’s licence from the Nigerian College of Aviation in northern Zaria in 2010 and had completed numerous solo flights.
Meanwhile, a section of the Nigerian media has blamed a tweet by the Special Assistant to the President on New Media, Reno Omokri, for the misleading report that the Governor had died.
In the immediate aftermath of the crash, Mr. Omokri was said to have tweeted: ''May the soul of the late departed Governor, Danbaba Suntai, of Taraba State rest in peace and may God grant the state peace this trying time.”
He later reportedly deleted the tweet.
-0- PANA SEG 26Oct2012