An aviation official says that all passengers and crew on board a plane that crashed in Nigeria’s largest city have been killed.
|FROM THE BLOGS|
Harold Denuren, of Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Authority, confirmed that there were no survivors from Sunday’s accident involving a Dana Air flight from Abuja to Lagos.
The Lagos state government said in a statement that 153 people were on the flight, which came down in a densely populated neighborhood near the airport in clear and sunny weather.
A spokesman for Nigeria’s national emergency management agency said there were likely to be more casualties on the ground, but the number was unknown.
The Boeing MD83 came down in a densely populated neighbourhood, smashing through buildings. Rescuers worked through Sunday night at the site, trying to put out fires from the crash.
Officials said searchers were still looking for the aircraft’s black box recorder.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared three days of national mourning on Sunday night.
|Recent major airline crashes in Nigeria|
Jonathan “has declared a three-day period of national mourning for all those who lost their lives in the Dana plane crash in Lagos today,” a statement from his office said
Firefighters tried to put out the smoldering flames of a jet engine and carried at least one corpse from the building that continued to crumble as thousands of people looked on.
Two fire engines and about 50 rescue personnel were at the site about an hour after the plane went down. A military helicopter flew overhead.
Lagos airport has been shut down and passengers awaiting later flights were told to go home.
Al Jazeera’s Yvonne Ndege, reporting from Abuja, said some people on the ground in Lagos believed the plane may have hit a power line before crashing into a building and bursting into flames. Others suggested it had hit a building directly.
Images of the scene showed huge plumes of smoke across the Lagos skyline.
Lagos’ international airport is a major hub for West Africa and saw 2.3 million passengers pass through it in 2009, according to the most recent statistics provided by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.
In August 2010, the US announced it had given Nigeria the FAA’s Category 1 status; its top safety rating that allows the nation’s domestic carriers to fly directly to the US.
The Nigerian government said it also now had full radar coverage of the entire nation. However, in a nation which often suffers from intermittent electricity blackouts, state power and diesel generators sometimes both fail at airports, making radar screens go blank.
This latest incident came after another plane crash on Saturday night in the capital of the nearby West African nation of Ghana, which saw a cargo plane overshoot a runway and hit a passenger bus, killing at least 10 people.
The Allied Air cargo plane had departed from Lagos and was to land in Accra.