LAGOS, Nigeria — A passenger plane carrying more than 150 people crashed in Nigeria’s largest city on Sunday, killing all passengers aboard, an emergency official said. 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.
Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Authority Harold Denuren said that all the passengers on Sunday’s Dana Air flight died. He did not say how many were on the flight.
The Lagos state government said in a statement that 153 people were on the flight going from Abuja to Lagos.
It was not immediately known what type of plane it was, but Dana Air’s website says that the company operates its Lagos to Abuja and Abuja to Lagos flights using Boeing MD-83 aircraft.
Yushau Shuaib, spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency, said there were likely more casualties on the ground, but the number was unknown. He said they were also still trying to get an official manifest on the flight. Sometimes flights in Nigeria issue paper tickets and don’t record all passengers via computer.
The plane did not to appear to have nose-dived into a building, but seemed to have landed on its belly. It first crashed through a furniture shop and then into residential buildings next to the workshop in this densely packed neighborhood.
The nose of the plane was embedded into the three-story apartment building, damaging only one part of the structure. Fire still smoldered everywhere as several thousand people looked on. A group of men stood atop the landing gear that was smoking and took pictures with their mobile phones.
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 U.S. announced it had given Nigeria the FAA’s Category 1 status, its top safety rating that allows the nation’s domestic carriers to fly directly to the U.S.
The Nigerian government said it also now has full radar coverage of the entire nation. 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.
The presidency said in a statement the crash “has sadly plunged the nation into further sorrow on a day when Nigerians were already in grief over the loss of many other innocent lives in the church bombing in Bauchi state.”
A suicide car bomber drove into a north Nigeria church’s compound Sunday and detonated his explosives as worshippers left an early morning service, killing at least eight people and wounding dozens more, officials and witnesses said.