Passenger jet crashes in Nigeria

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Dana Airlines Crash in Lagos

Dana Airlines Crash in Lagos

A passenger plane carrying between 140 and 150 people crashed in Lagos, officials said. Firefighters pulled at least one body from a building that was damaged by the crash and searched for survivors as several charred corpses could be seen in the rubble.

Casualty figures were not yet known, said Lagos state emergency manager Femi Oke-Osanyinpolu.

An emergency official said that between 140 and 150 people were on the Dana Air flight. He said they were still trying to get an official manifest on the flight. Sometimes flights in Nigeria issue paper tickets and don’t record all passengers via computer.

Iyiola Akande, the zonal co-ordinator for NEMA, said that colleagues on the ground said that 153 people were on board but he did not say how they knew.

Praise Richard said he was watching a film when he heard a loud explosion that sounded like a bomb. He rushed outside and saw massive smoke and flames rising from the crash site.

He said the plane crashed about 3:45pm local time.

“I don’t think there will be any survivors,” he said. “It would take a miracle.”

The Dana Air flight was flying from Abuja to Lagos, according to the head of Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Authority Harold Denuren.

The plane did not to appear to have nose-dived into the building, but seemed to have landed on its belly. It first crashed through a furniture shop and then into residential buildings next to the workshop in this densely packed neighbourhood.

The nose of the plane was embedded into the three-story apartment building, damaging only one part of the structure. Fire still smouldered everywhere as a group of men stood atop the landing gear that was smoking and took pictures with their mobile phones.

At the crash site, an Associated Press reporter saw parts of the plane’s seat signs scattered around. Firefighters tried to put out the smouldering flames of a jet engine and carried at least one corpse from the building that continued to crumble. Several thousand people looked on.

People help rescue workers lift a water hose to extinguish a fire after a plane crashed into a neighbourhood in Ishaga district

People help rescue workers lift a water hose to extinguish a fire after a plane crashed into a neighbourhood in Ishaga district

Two fire engines and about 50 rescue personnel were at the site about an hour after the plane went down. Some of those gathered around the site helped firefighters bring in the water hoses from their trucks.

The Nigerian Red Cross arrived, as well as Nigeria’s air crash safety investigators.

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 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 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.

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