Nigeria: school loses 71 pupils in plane crash

 Most of the victims of Saturday's plane crash in Nigeria were Catholic school children, Archbishop John Onaiyekan of Abuja told reporters. About 100 people perished when the plane travelling from the capital Abuja overshot the runway at Port Harcourt during a storm and burst into flames. Archbishop John said 71 pupils from Abuja's Ignatius Loyola Jesuit College had been on board. Four others had got off the plane during a scheduled stopover in another city, he said. Many of the pupils' families had been at Port Harcourt's airport to collect their children and witnessed the crash. "You can imagine the great trauma for the parents watching," he told news agency AFP. "It's a great tragedy for the school." The college has 600 pupils and is one of Nigeria's most highly-rated schools. Relatives have been gathering at mortuaries to try to identify victims. Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, sent the following message of condolence, in the Pope's name, to Bishop Alexius Obabu Mazoki of Port Harcourt: "Saddened by news of the great loss of life in the air tragedy near Port Harcourt, the Holy Father asks you kindly to convey his heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. He commends the dead to the eternal mercies of Almighty God and invokes the divine blessings of strength and peace upon all who mourn and upon all engaged in the work of relief." Source: BBC/AFP/VIS

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