Sunday, 3 June 2012
Nigeria Plane Crash Kills 153
LAGOS, Nigeria — A commercial airliner crashed into a densely populated neighborhood in Nigeria's largest city on Sunday, killing all 153 people on board and others on the ground in the worst air disaster in nearly two decades for the troubled nation.
The cause of the Dana Air crash remained unknown Sunday night, as firefighters and police struggled to put out the flames around the wreckage of the Boeing MD83 aircraft. Authorities could not control the crowd of thousands gathered around to see the crash site, with some crawling over the plane's broken wings and standing on a still-smoldering landing gear.
Harold Demuren, the director-general of Nigeria's Civil Aviation Authority, said all on board the flight were killed in the crash. Lagos state government said in a statement that 153 people were on the flight traveling from Nigeria's central capital of Abuja to Lagos in the nation's southwest.The Dana Air flight destined for Lagos from Abuja crashed in the early afternoon into a building, said Akande Iyiola, zone coordinator with the emergency management agency. The neighborhood was about five miles from the city's airport, said Abbah.
The crash triggered three house fires, said Labaran Ahmed, a rescue officer with the agency.
Speaking to CNN around 6:15 p.m., Sidi described the scene as "devastation."A military helicopter flew overhead. The sound of the crowd was also occasionally punctuated by the noise of aircraft still landing at the airport.
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 U.S. 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 U.S.
The Nigerian government said it also now has full radar coverage of the entire nation. However, in a nation where the state-run electricity company is in tatters, state power and diesel generators sometimes both fail at airports, making radar screens go blank.