Lagos air crash after take-off kills at least 15

The Embraer passenger plane crashed just outside Lagos airport's domestic terminal this morning

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The Independent Online

A plane carrying twenty passengers has crashed shortly after take-off in Lagos killing at least fifteen people.

The Embraer passenger plane crashed just outside Lagos airport's domestic terminal this morning, Nigerian authorities said.

The Brazilian-made-plane was flying from Nigeria's commercial capital to Akure, a southwestern town about 140 miles (225 km) away. This afternoon the rescue operation is continuing.

Officials have so far refused to confirm reports of fifteen deaths but five casualties were rushed to hospital. 

Federal Aviation Agency spokesman Yakubu Dati told The Associated Press that rescue efforts were ongoing."We have put out the fire and our priority continues to be rescuing survivors," he said.

Police Commissioner Waheed Sanau said the plane was chartered from Associated Airlines to fly from Lagos to Akure in Ondo state and crashed into open land near a tollgate shortly after taking off.

The tollgate is near a fuel storage depot.

According to reports the pilot detected a fault soon after taking off and tried to return to the airport for a crash-landing but did not make it, said another police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Eyewitness, Rasheed Olajide, an engineer working at the airport, told Reuters the plane "was making a lot of noise before it came down," adding "it appeared to reverse back to avoid crashing into the residential area. It came down at a 45 degree angle."

Nigerian airlines and airports have a notoriously poor safety record.

The country has seen seven major air crashes since 1992 the worst of which was in June 2012 when 150 people were killed following a double engine failure in Lagos.

The Murtala Muhammed Airport is a major hub for West Africa with upwards of two million passengers using it every year.