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Chinese among dead in Lagos crash

06-05-2012 03:02 BJT Special Report:Nigeria Plane Crash |

The Chinese embassy in Nigeria confirmed on Monday the identification of the six Chinese passengers, as emergency workers continued searching for victims at the site where an airliner plunged to earth, killing all 153 aboard.

Rescue officials said they fear many more people may have been killed on the ground.

According to the Nigerian Red Cross, 48 bodies had been recovered and others were being dug out of the rubble.

The pilots reported engine trouble moments before the airliner crashed on its way into Lagos. Two years ago, the same Boeing MD-83 lost engine power due to a bird strike, according to an aviation database.

On a clear Sunday afternoon, the Dana Air jetliner smashed into businesses and crowded apartment buildings near Lagos' Murtala Muhammed International Airport, the worst air disaster in Nigeria in nearly two decades.

"We have confirmed that all six Chinese citizens on board were from Chinese enterprises engaged in the construction of infrastructure," said Qiu Jian, acting consul-general of the Chinese consulate in Abuja.

West African United Business Weekly was quoted as saying that four of the six Chinese passengers worked for China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation.

Six Chinese names were listed on Dana Air's passenger list for flight 9J-992: Kang Yi, Li Huizhu, Li Rui, Wang Yu, Xie Zhenfeng and Zhai Shutao.

"The embassy is keeping a close eye on the accident," embassy spokesman Ding Yonghua told China Daily. "We have sent officials to the accident scene. We have also established contact with the companies and relatives of the six Chinese citizens and extended our help," Ding said.

The embassy posted its and the Abuja consulate's contact information on its website, Ding said.

Trade between China and Nigeria has blossomed over the past few years. More than 200 Chinese companies operate business in Nigeria. Chinese investment there has reached almost $8 billion, and more than 40,000 Chinese citizens live in Nigeria.

At the crash site on Monday, police with cadaver dogs searched for bodies inside the wreckage. Overnight, officials brought in a large crane from a construction company to lift pieces of debris away. They brought blowtorches to cut through the wreckage of the aircraft. Debris still smoldered on Monday morning.

Rescue workers used the crane from the construction site to lift the tail of the aircraft. The metal shrieked as it lifted skyward and was dropped down. Investigators then climbed ladders to examine the tail.

The cause of the crash remained unclear. The pilots radioed the Lagos control tower just before the crash that they were having engine trouble, a military official said on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorized to speak to journalists.

Rescue workers searched for the aircraft's black box, where flight data is stored, said Harold Demuren, the director-general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.


Editor:Zhang Dan |Source: China Daily

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