Governor Danbaba Danfulani Suntai of Taraba state who was critically injured in a plane crash in Yola, Adamawa state yesterday has been moved to the National Hospital, Abuja, where he is currently receiving treatment preparatory to his being flown to Germany for better medical treatment.
About one hour after the governor was admitted into the intensive care unit of the hospital amidst tight security, President Goodluck Jonathan arrived at about 3.15pm local time to visit him. The president confirmed that Suntai’s condition is stable and urged Nigerians to thank God for sparing the governor’s life.
The governor had personally flown the Cessna 208 aircraft marked 5N-BJM which belongs to the Taraba state government with five other persons on board from an unmanned air strip in Jalingo to the Yola airport. The flight was said to have contacted the Yola Control Tower (1720Z) and field in sight at 38 miles estimating landing at 1730Z.
A Pharmacist by profession, Suntai also holds a Private Pilot Lincense (PPL) from the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria which he obtained in 2010. But multiple sources told iReports-ng.com that the governor has been warned to desist from flying himself from an unmanned air strip in Jalingo. Others also disclosed that the Yola airport had also officially closed when the governor’s flight came in. Due to lack of night landing equipment at the Yola airport, it now closes at about 6pm. The governor was however said to have radioed Air Traffic Control in Yola that he will be arriving with his team by by 6.45pm and asked them to keep the airport open for his landing.
Five minutes to the expected time of arrival, the ATCs lost contact with the Cessna 208 airplane which is a single turboprop engine, fixed-gear short-haul regional airliner and utility aircraft built in the United States by Cessna. The airplane usually seats nine passengers, with a single person crew and this explained why the governor was the last person to be rescued at the crash site yesterday because he was stuck to the cockpit. An aviation source said while it was easy to rescue the other five passangers, it was some hard task bringing the governor out of the wreckage.
Fielding questions from curious journalists who stormed the National Hospital today, President Jonathan said “first and foremost, i have to thank God for what has happened. Plane crash is not something you just wave off. We are quite happy that the governor is stable, i have seen him, doctors are working very hard on him. I believe that God willing, he will come out of it.”
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