More than 150 killed as passenger plane crashes into homes


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The Independent Online

A passenger plane carrying more than 150 people crashed into buildings in Lagos, Nigeria's largest city, yesterday, killing all passengers and crew aboard.

The Lagos state government said in a statement that 153 people were on the Dana Air flight from the capital, Abuja. Officials said there were likely to be more casualties on the ground, but the number was unknown.

Several charred corpses could be seen in the rubble of a building damaged by the crash, as firefighters searched for survivors and pulled a dead body from the wreckage.

The plane first crashed through a furniture shop and then into residential buildings next to the workshop in a densely packed neighbourhood.

The nose of the plane was embedded in a three-storey apartment building. Fires smouldered as several thousand people looked on.

One witness said he was watching a film when he heard a loud explosion that sounded like a bomb. He rushed outside and saw massive plumes of smoke and flames rising from the crash site around 3.45pm.

At the crash site, an Associated Press reporter saw parts of the plane's seat signs scattered around.

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

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 Federal Aviation Administration announced it had given Nigeria Category 1 status, its top safety rating for carriers flying directly to the US.

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.