EAS Airlines Flight 4226 was a scheduled flight between the Nigerian cities of Kano (Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport) and Lagos (Murtala Muhammed International Airport). At about 14:35 local time (13:35 UTC) on 4 May 2002, Flight 4226 from Kano crash-landed in a residential area of the city called Gwammaja. The plane, a BAC One-Eleven 525FT with 69 passengers and 8 crew members on board, burst into flames upon impact. The accident resulted in the deaths of 64 passengers and 7 crew in addition to at least 78 civilians on the ground.
Prior to the fatal crash, the aircraft involved in the incident had been grounded on two previous occasions: once in 2001 for eleven days to perform engine maintenance, and again in 2002 for 52 days to address engine problems.
Flight 4226 has the highest death toll of any aviation accident involving a BAC One-Eleven. Subsequent investigation conducted by Nigerian authorities concluded that the crash was caused by pilot error.
The flight was carrying 69 passengers and 8 crew members. The pilot was Captain Inneh Peter and the co-pilot was First Officer C.E Adegboye. The flight engineers were Emmanuel Idoko and Muhammad Sarki. Peros Doris was the cabin purser and Iwenofu Nenne, Naomi Ukpong and Nwokeji Ifeyinwa were the cabin attendants. Flight 4226 took off from Kano International Airport at 1:32 p.m local time. Flight 4226 then began to swerve from side to side. The Captain Peter reported control tower that he was having an engine failure. The plane later plunged onto the ground at 1:35 p.m local time, just three minutes after take off.
People on the ground who witnessed the plane coming towards them then scrambled to safety. Flight 4226 then struck multiple structures on the ground, including a local school and two mosques with full attendance, crashed and burst into flames. Most buildings collapsed due to the disaster. Praying service was held at the local mosques at the time of the crash.
Eyewitnesses stated that survivors on the ground began to wail and scream, rushing to the crash site to search for their relatives trapped inside the rubble. According to eyewitness, they heard several calls for help from inside the plane. Firefighters rushed to the scene. However, due to absence of water in the area, firefighters were unable to douse the fire.
4 survivors were extricated alive from the wreckage. Among them was a Lebanese passenger, an army general and a flight attendant. One survivor was found with "a bone jutting out from his forehead". 26 bodies were recovered from the crash site. Authorities gathered information about the victims and the trapped people. Volunteers told News Agency of Nigeria that three pupils of a local school which was struck by the plane were trapped inside the rubble. The headmaster was able to be rescued. Soldiers and police officers were deployed to the scene.
Rescuers later retrieved more than 70 bodies from the crash site. Authorities stated that the local mortuary had been filled to capacity due to the numbers of the dead. Their bodies were transported to the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital. Off-duty emergency workers were called to work in response to the crisis of the disaster.
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo cut short his visit in Southern Africa states and ordered an immediate probe to the accident. All Nigerian flags would be flown at half mast throughout Nigeria in response to the crash, he later added. The Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero, alongside with Governor of Kano State Rabiu Isa Kuamkwaso, visited the crash site. The Emir and the Governor later expressed their sympathy to the relatives of the victims.
Flight 4226 was carrying 69 passengers and 8 crew members at the time of the crash, contrary to initial reports which claimed that the plane was carrying 105 passengers. 17 passengers boarded the plane in Kano. Most of the passengers were Nigerian, with one Lebanese confirmed to be on board Flight 4226. Several people were rescued alive from the wreckage. However, one survivor, identified as Army General Bozegha, succumbed to his injuries in the following day. The survivors were identified as Idowu Adebayo, Flight attendant Naomi Ukpong, Adesina B. A., Najeeb Ibrahim, and Brigadier General E.O Ikewugha. All of them suffered burn injuries.
Among the passengers was Nigeria's Sport Minister Ishaya Mark Aku. He was on his way on attending an official engagement. Three catholic clergy were also confirmed to be on board Flight 4226. They were identified as Rev. Damap K., Rev. Anegbe C.J. and Rev. Sister Benrett. Management staff of National Electric Power Authority of Jos, Sulaiman Olayinka Oye-shola, was also confirmed to be on board.
The pilot was Captain Inneh Peter with a flight hours of more than 14,000 hours and the co-pilot was First Officer C.E Adegboye. The flight engineers were Emmanuel Idoko and Muhammad Sarki. None of the crew members, other than Naomi Ukpong, survived the crash.
Nigerian authorities opened an investigation on the crash, with Aviation Minister Kema Chikwe instituted a panel to investigate the crash. The Nigerian federal upper legislative chambers began a public session on the same day of the crash, discussing about the crash as part of the investigation. Managing Director of EAS Airlines, Idris Wada, insisted that the plane was still in good condition. He later added that Lloyds Insurance, insurers of the BAC 1-11-500 aircraft which was involved in the crash, has sent a representative from London to investigate the cause of the crash. According to him, the plane involved in the crash was fitted with the engine of a grounded EAS Airlines BAC 1-11 plane four days before the crash, which raised questions among the senate. He claimed that the practice was not uncommon among the aviation industry.
Both recorders were sent to the United Kingdom for further analysis.
Following an investigation by the Nigerian Minister of Aviation, the cause of the crash was ruled to be pilot error. The findings of the investigation stated the engines failed following their intake of a large amount of dust. This occurred as a result of the pilot overshooting the runway and continuing the take-off through a grassy area at the end of the runway. Following the engine failure the plane rapidly descended into the neighbouring Gwammaja area of Kano ultimately destroying several structures on the ground. Its crash resulted in the deaths of all but six (five passengers and one crew member) of the plane's occupants in addition to 78 civilians on the ground.