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Nigerian plane crash leaves no survivors

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
June 4th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A plane crash in the densely populated African city of Lagos, Nigeria has killed all 153 onboard and killed 10 people on the ground this weekend. The pilot of the Dana Air plane radioed that the plane was having trouble just minutes earlier, according to an airline official.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Details are emerging as search and rescue crews work to recover bodies from the wreckage. Authorities are searching for the flight data recorders in order to determine the cause of the crash.

The death toll is expected to rise as crews search the rubble of a two-story residential building that the McDonnell Douglas MD-83 plane struck.

It's not yet known how many people were inside the building and on the street outside at the time of the crash. The pilot of the doomed flight declared an emergency as the plane was on final approach to Murtala Muhammed International Airport. Witnesses say it appeared the plane was having engine trouble.

The pilot of the flight has been identified as an American, but did not release his name or hometown. The co-pilot was from India, and the flight engineer from Indonesia.

Among the passengers killed were six Chinese citizens who were on board the flight, the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria said.

Witnesses say that the passenger plane appeared to be coming in high with its nose up when it crashed, hitting the ground tail first.

The flight, bound from the Nigerian capital of Abuja, crashed in the neighborhood of Iju Ishaga, just north of the airport, according to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, a full 11 miles from the runway.

Crews had recovered more than 80 bodies Monday morning, including 10 believed to be residents of the building.

The families of the dead were gathered at the airport hours after the crash and were told there were no survivors.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan ordered an immediate investigation into the crash, while declaring a three-day period of national mourning for victims.

Massive crowds that poured into the streets after the crash have hindered recovery efforts. The influx of onlookers has made it difficult for crews and medical workers to get to the wreckage.

Police used batons to beat back onlookers to make way for rescue crews and ambulances. "There were so many people, you had to push through people to walk," Pearl Ezeokeke, who was at the crash site said.

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