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Latest on Nigeria plane crash

06-05-2012 03:20 BJT

In Nigeria, where emergency workers have been pulling bodies out of the wreckage of a crashed plane that went down in a populated area of Lagos. A reportedly aging American-built airliner plowed into a neighborhood near the city's airport, killing all 153 people on board. Officials fear many people may have perished on the ground as well.

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

Emmanuel Shoyemi ,Resident, Said, "The plane hit this tree here and entered that compound. I am watching, about five minutes. I was stunned for about five minutes not knowing who to call. The shock alone was too much, then immediately I heard a blast from that place, two times."

The cause of the crash remained unclear, but there are reports that the pilots radioed to the Lagos control tower just before the crash, reporting engine trouble.

Babatunde Fashola, Lagos State Governor, said, "It is simply too much to take in at one time, really. Ordinary people trying to earn a living ending up so tragically and untimely, the families, the pilots, the crew, young Nigerians whose lives have been so drastically and suddenly cut short. It is a very, very traumatic and painful experience."

Aviation databases show the plane was exported to Nigeria in early 2009. It was first delivered in 1990 with the U.S. registration number N944AS to Alaska Airlines. It suffered two minor incidents, while in the Seattle-based airline's service. Less than two months ago, the same plane had loss of engine power due to a bird strike, according to an aviation database. On April 19, the plane was also forced to make an emergency landing at Lagos due to loss of engine power, after a bird strike following takeoff, according to the Aviation Safety Network.

While local residents helped carry fire hoses to the crash site, the major challenges of life in oil-rich Nigeria quickly became apparent as there wasn't any water to put out the flames more than three hours later.. The dead included at least four Chinese citizens and two Lebanese nationals. President Goodluck Jonathan has declared three days of national mourning and ordered an investigation into the cause of Sunday's accident.

Editor:James |Source: CNTV

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