by Emmanuel Chidiogo
2014 has witnessed one too many crashes in one month for the aviation industry worldwide, than it has in the last two years. The month of July has so far witnessed four crashes, the most in a month since 2012, when 5 crashes were recorded in the same month of July alone.
Few days go, an Algerian airline which was reportedly missing with 116 people on board, was found in Mali near the Burkina Faso border, where it had crash landed, killing everyone on board.
Flight AH5017, which took off from Ouagadougou bound for Algiers with 51 French nationals aboard, according to Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, went missing amid reports of heavy storms.
The ill-fated airline also had 24 Burkinabe, 8 Lebanese, 6 Algerians, 6 Spanish, 5 Canadians, 4 Germans and 2 Luxembourg nationals on board.
The crash came at the end of a disastrous week for the aviation industry. On July 17, a Malaysia Airlines plane crashed in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board. A Taiwanese aircraft crashed in torrential rain in southwest Taiwan on Wednesday, killing 48. In February, a C-130 military aircraft carrying 78 people in Algeria’s mountainous northeast crashed, killing more than 70 people. The plane had been flying from the desert garrison town of Tamanrasset in Algeria’s deep south to Constantine, 320 kilometres east of Algiers. Tamanrasset was also the site of the country’s worst-ever civilian air disaster, in March 2003 that killed all but one of the 103 people onboard an Air Algerie Boeing 737-200.
In 2013, of the 12 crashes that occurred globally, 459 fatalities were recorded including the October 3, Associated Aviation Flight 361, which crashed shortly after takeoff from Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, killing 15 people on board. This year, 8 crashes have been recorded already, with a total of 993 fatalities including the only crash which has occurred in Nigeria so far, involving a Nigerian Air Force Mi-35 helicopter, which killed a co-pilot and technician on board after a crash in south of Bama, Borno State.
2012 recorded a total of 13 crashes globally with Nigeria accounting for one of those crashes. On June 3rd, Dana Air Flight 992, carrying 146 passengers and 7 crew members, crashed in Lagos, close to Murtala Muhammed International Airport, killing all on board and 10 more people on the ground.
How safe is air transportation? Do we revert to roads?
According to global statistics, at least 1.3 million people die from road accidents each year. Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Mr Osita Chidoka once revealed that road traffic crashes had claimed the lives of about 3,320 persons from January 2014 till July – a jaw-dropping statistics when compared to that of 2012, when a total of 4,260 people were killed in accidents across Nigeria.