Plane crash in Nigeria kills all 147 on board
By Tim Cocks
LAGOS (Reuters) - A passenger plane crashed into a densely populated part of Lagos, Nigeria's commercial hub, on Sunday, killing all 147 people on board, the airline said.
President Goodluck Jonathan declared three days of national mourning and ordered an investigation into the cause of the crash which jolted residents of Lagos' Agege suburb where most live in tin-roofed buildings along unpaved streets.
The McDonnell Douglas MD-83, operated by privately owned domestic carrier Dana Air, was coming into land on a flight from the capital Abuja when it hit the building, not far from Lagos's Murtala Muhammed Airport, at 2:44 p.m. (1344 GMT) and burst into flames, according to the airline.
Among the dead was the spokesman for the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, Levi Ajuonuma, according to a passenger list released by the airline. Ajuonuma was also de facto spokesman for the oil minister in OPEC member Nigeria, Africa's biggest crude producer.
Dana Air said it was still investigating what caused the crash.
Thousands of people crowded around a the shouldering remains of a two-story tin-roofed building into which the aircraft had plunged.
Police used truncheons to beat back the massed onlookers on the scene, trying to make a path for rescue services, but the crowd was so large that some ambulances, sirens wailing, were unable to get through.
"This crowd is crazy. The rescuers can't even get access," said Jimoh, a local motorbike taxi man who said he had felt a huge thud as the aircraft struck. Continued...