Girish Mahajan (Editor)

Bellview Airlines Flight 210

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Summary  Undetermined
Aircraft type  Boeing 737-200
Date  22 October 2005
Total fatalities  117 (all)
Crew count  6
Passengers  111
Registration  5N-BFN
Operator  Bellview Airlines
Passenger count  111
Bellview Airlines Flight 210 httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Site  Lisa, Ogun State, Lagos, Nigeria
Flight origin  Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos
Destination  Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport
Similar  Kam Air Flight 904, 2005 Equatorial Express, Sosoliso Airlines Flight 1145, Mandala Airlines Flight 91, Southwest Airlines Flight 1248

Bellview Airlines Flight 210, was a scheduled domestic passenger flight, operating as a Boeing 737-200 aircraft from Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos en route to the Nigerian capital Abuja. On 22 October 2005, the plane nose dived and crashed at Lisa Village, Ogun State, killing all 117 people on board. The records obtained by the Associated Press (AP) showed that the captain of a Bellview Airlines flight that crashed had gone back to work as a pilot despite being shot in the head years before. And in another case, a pilots' manual included blank pages instead of key safety information, the investigation further revealed.


Though officials now say air travel is much safer, the documents add to worries about flights in Nigeria, a nation of more than 160 million people where graft and incompetence often dominate government and where the demand for air travel has spiked over the last five years. A report on the crash showed the plane nose-dived into the ground at high speed. Investigators reportedly found only human remains that were "nothing bigger than toes and fingers," the report read. The plane's captain, a 49-year-old former pilot, had been hired by Bellview after he had been working at a dairy for about 14 years, the summary read. The pilot also had been "shot in the head during a robbery attempt" during that break from flying, the report said.

The cause of the crash was never determined. The crash caused the U.S to criticise the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria(FAAN) as they failed to enforce safety regulations and oversight.


Flight 210 was a scheduled passenger flight from Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja. The flight departed Lagos at night, on 20:35, as the aircraft entered a right turn tower controller told the crew to contact the approach controller. The Approach Control replied "report again passing one three zero." The pilot acknowledged at 19:32:35 UTC, and that was the last known transmission from the flight. The approach controller told the crew to next report passing 13,000 feet or when crossing the LAG beacon, this last contact was at 20:36. The pilot of Bellview Airlines Flight 210 sent a distress signal just after taking off from Lagos for the Nigerian capital, Abuja, in stormy weather at 20:45 (1945 GMT).

The approach controller tried to contact Flight 210 at 20:46 but had no response. An alert was raised with the National Emergency Management Agency to start a search and rescue operation. The plane was first reported found on Sunday morning by a police helicopter search team near the rural town of Kishi, Oyo state, 400 km (320 miles) from Lagos. It was suggested 50 people might have survived. But officials later retracted statements about the plane's location and survivors after a TV crew said it had found the aircraft near the village of Lissa in Ogun state, about 50 km (30 miles) from Lagos.

Images of mangled bodies, twisted chunks of metal and ripped luggage were broadcast. The vegetations and cash crops at the crash site were destroyed. The impact crater covered a large area and measured 57 feet by 54 feet and 30 feet deep. The National Emergency Management Agency said on Sunday afternoon that the plane had crashed and burst into flames in swampland north of Lagos. Spokesman Ibrahim Farinloye told AFP news agency that the plane hit the ground with such speed it was partly buried under ground. No-one on the plane would have lived after the initial impact, he said. Nigerian Red Cross officials confirmed no sign of survivors had been found at the scene. All 117 on board had been killed and the aircraft was destroyed.

Passengers and crew

The plane was carrying 111 passengers and 6 crews. Most of them were thought to be Nigerians, with at least 10 were Ghanaians and one U.S citizen. There were many notable people on the flight:

  • Abubakar Hauwam S, Ministry of Women Affairs
  • Adele Lorenzo, South African television producer.
  • Haydon Joseph, a US Chief of the Office of Defence Co-operation in US Embassy of Nigeria)
  • Ojang Omar, Director of Research and Documentation, Nigerian Press Council.
  • Linus Sabulu, National President of the National Association of Nigerian Nurses and Midwives
  • Usman Umar, a traditional ruler of Daddare in Obi Local Council of Nasarawa State; Chairman of board of directors of the National Programme on Immunisation.
  • Simon Christopher Yau, Head of Corporate Communication, Taxpayer Education and Services Unit (CCTPES) of the Federal Inland Revenue Service of Abuja
  • Mohammed Waziri, chairman of Nigerian Railway Corporation
  • The cockpit crews are:

  • Captain Imasuen Lambert from Okada, Albarka. He had logged in a total of 13.429 hours of flying experience, in which 1053 of them were on the type. Before he joined Bellview Airlines in October 2004, Lambert had worked for Imani Aviation, Okada Air, Gas Air and Kabo Airlines. He was out of active flying for 12 years, between 1992 and 2004. Interview with company pilots who had flown with the captain indicated his performance was satisfying.
  • Flight Officer Eshun Ernest, a Ghana national, with his wife was also on board. He was less experienced than Captain Lambert, with a total flight hours of 762 in which 451 of them were on the type.
  • Flight Engineer Sanni Steve from Imane, Olamaboro Local Government of Kogi State.
  • Aircraft

    The aircraft was a twin-engined Boeing 737-2B7 registered in Nigeria as 5N-BFN. The aircraft had manufacturers serial number 22734 and been built in 1981 and first delivered to Maersk Air before acquired by the airline. The aircraft had flown more than 56,000 hours to the point of the crash. The aircraft was manufactured in 1981 and entered the Nigerian Register on 21 March 2003. Inspections were carried out in accordance with Approved Maintenance Programme at the facility of Royal Air Maroc, Morocco between 28 December 2004 and 12 February 2005.

    The last check was performed on the aircraft by Bellview Airlines Engineers in Lagos was in October 2005. Review of the engine records showed that engine no.1 was last overhauled in August 2004 and installed on the aircraft in October 2004 while engine no.2 was last overhauled in May 2005 and installed on 13 September 2005.


    The investigation was hampered by the lack of data recorder evidence and the official report was not released until February 2013. After the crash, searchers were unable to find either the voice or flight data recorders. As the aircraft impacted in nearly vertical angle in high speed, this, causing most of the aircraft's components in the wreckage became severely damaged, or even unidentifiable. About 60% of the wreckage was recovered. Due to high speed at impact, the crash created a crater with smoke emanated profusely from the crater. The smoke continued for several days. Investigators stated that the crash wasn't survivable.

    Bad weather

    The AIB stated that a large convective system was formed near the aircraft at the time of the accident. As they received satellite imagery information from Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET), apart from METAR, the satellite imagery showed that both infrared and water vapour images revealed the presence of large circular shaped clouds in couplet, especially over the south western portion including Lagos and also over the coastal part of south of Nigeria. The couplet cells appeared to remain stationary or slow moving while intensifying and eventually merging to become a large cloud cell at midnight over the southwestern part of the country; at the same time the cumulonimbus cloud over the coast of the south weakened and eventually dissipated. There was also a satellite imagery report produced by Boeing Aircraft Company which indicated strong convective storm activity near the accident site at the time of the accident. Icing might have also been a factor but only above Flight Level 150.


    Suspicion on mid flight explosion arose when the cargo hold area were recovered from the wreckage. Pieces of burnt fuselage parts of the left side of the underbelly of the aircraft were found approximately 100 feet away from the crater created by the impact of the aircraft with the ground. The burnt parts contained a portion of the registration number and another section of the skin with the other part of the registration number. The two pieces matched and were suspected to emanate from the left side of the fuselage.

    The Nigerian government then invited the Nigerian State Security Services and the American FBI to determine the cause of the crash and to confirmed if an explosion occurred in mid-flight. FBI took a piece of the burnt part, swabs from the inner and outer surface of the burnt piece and an electronic part found within the folded section of the piece of interest, back to their facilities for laboratory analysis and screened for presence of explosive residue. The results of the tests were negative (no explosion).


    AIB could not identify the cause of the accident, but considered several factors:

  • The pilot-in-command (PIC) training of the Captain was inadequate, and the cumulative flight hours of the pilot in the days before the accident which was indicative of excessive workload that could lead to fatigue. The investigation was unable to determine the captain’s medical condition at the time of the accident.
  • The aircraft had a number of technical defects and should not have been flown for either the accident flight or earlier flights. The airline failed to maintain an operating and maintenance regime within the regulations and the Civil Aviation Authority’s safety oversight of the operator’s procedures and operations was inadequate.
  • With no ability to reconstruct the flight the investigation was unable to come to any conclusion of the aircraft or crews performance or the effect of the weather on the flight. The AIB could not reach a conclusion about the cause but made Four safety recommendations in the report:

    1. The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority should improve oversight of airline maintenance and operations.
    2. The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency should increase radar coverage to enhance air traffic services and assist in search and rescue operations.
    3. Bellview should improve its maintenance procedures and authorisations.
    4. Bellview should review its safety and quality control regime.


    Bellview Airlines Flight 210 Wikipedia