More than 150 presumed dead in Nigeria plane crash

Dylan Stableford
The Lookout

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A passenger plane crashed in Nigeria's largest city on Sunday with all 153 people on board presumed dead. An unknown number of others on the ground were also believed killed.

The Dana Air flight from Abuja to Lagos went down in a densely-populated area of Lagos, causing several house fires, reports said.

A spokesman for the airline said 147 passengers and six crew members were on the flight, according to Agence France-Press.

The cause of the crash of the Boeing MD-83 was unclear, but a military official told the Associated Press that the plane's pilots radioed the Lagos control tower just before the crash and reported having engine trouble.

AFP reports an emergency official and an aviation official said the cockpit recorder had been located and handed over to police.

Nigerian officials confirmed no survivors from the crash had been found. "We presume they are dead," Tunji Oketunbi, spokesman for the country's Accident Investigations Bureau, told AFP.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared three days of national mourning.

Officials feared a number of people were killed or injured on the ground, but no figures were immediately available.

There were reports of chaotic scenes after the crash, with large crowds of curious onlookers blocking access for rescue workers.

According to Al Jazeera, witnesses on the ground believe the plane "may have hit a power line" before it crashed into a building and burst into flames.

"Thick smoke rose from the area near the Lagos airport and flames could be seen coming from the building," the AFP reported. "Residents said the plane had been coming in low, making a loud noise, when it slammed into the residential area."

According to the Dana Air website, it operates several daily Lagos-Abuja and Lagos-Abuja flights using Boeing MD83 planes.

Sunday's crash comes just a day after a Boeing 727 cargo plane flying from Lagos crashed in Accra, the capital of Ghana, hitting a bus and killing at least 10.

Lagos' international airport is a major hub for West Africa, accommodating more than 2.3 million passengers in 2009, according to the AP.

Update 10:00 p.m. PT: This story was updated to include new details of the crash.