A small Nigerian airforce passenger plane crashed just outside Abuja airport due to engine failure on Sunday, killing all seven people on board, the airforce said.

“First responders are at the scene. Sadly, all 7 personnel on board died in the crash,” said airforce spokesman Ibikunle Daramole in a statement.

The Beechcraft KingAir B350i aircraft crashed while returning to the Abuja airport after reporting engine failure en route to Minna, he said. The city of Minna lies about 110 kilometres (68 miles) northwest of Abuja.

In scrubland just outside the airport perimeter, dozens of military and airport officials picked through the charred remnants of the airplane.

Fire engines and ambulances stood by. The smell of burning chemicals lingered in the air but no fire or smoke were visible, a Reuters witness said.