Crash rescue efforts hampered | Africa | DW | 03.06.2012
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Africa

Crash rescue efforts hampered

A passenger plane has crashed into a two-story building in the densely-populated Nigerian city of Lagos. All those on board are reported to have died in the crash.

Efforts by rescue workers to reach the site of the crash were hampered by crowds of thousands that had gathered around the wreckage of the plane on Sunday in the busy neighbourhood near the airport.

Security officials had been called in to help keep the crowds at bay, but many people were still able to get up close to the wreckage.

Making matters worse is the lack of water for fire fighting teams. Citizens have been reported to be carrying buckets of water to the smouldering plane as well as attempting to pass a long hose above the crowd.

Ground casualties still uncertain

The Lagos state government said in a statement that 153 people were on the flight from Abuja to Lagos when it crashed as it came in to land.

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Rescue workers struggle to reach wreckage

A spokesman for Nigeria's national emergency management agency said more casualties on the ground were likely, but the number was still unknown.

A military spokesman, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the plane had radioed the control tower just before the crash that it was having engine trouble.

Officials said the crash occurred just outside the airport in Lagos. The plane reportedly hit a furniture shop before slamming into an apartment building.

Three days of mourning

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has declared three days of national mourning after the crash.

A statement from his office said he had also cancelled all his engagements on Monday and ordered the "fullest possible investigation" into the crash.

Lagos is Nigeria's commercial capital and largest city, with an estimated population of 15 million people.

Dana Air is one of Nigeria's main airlines and has been operating since November 2008. Its website says it flies a fleet of Boeing MD-83 aircraft.

On Saturday, an Allied Air Boeing 727 cargo plane coming from Lagos was involved in a crash at the main airport in the Ghanaian capital, Accra. At least 10 people died when the aircraft overshot the runway and hit a small van full of passengers.

mz,tj/av (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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