At Least 153 Dead in Nigerian Plane Crash

Posted June 4th, 2012 at 8:25 am (UTC-5)
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Nigeria has begun three days of mourning for the victims of the plane that crashed in Lagos Sunday, killing all 153 people on board.

The wreckage of the commercial airliner continued to smolder early Monday as emergency workers carried bodies and debris from the crash site in a residential neighborhood.

In an interview with VOA (English to Africa), presidential adviser Reuben Abati said it was too soon to say what caused the crash.

“What the president has done, in addition also, is to order an immediate investigation into the cause of the crash. I think what you should do is to await the outcome of the investigation. At this moment everyone is in shock, including the president, and what you have on your hands is a community of people who are grieving.”

Officials with Nigeria's Civil Aviation Authority say the Dana Airlines flight was traveling from Abuja to Lagos when it crashed into a two-story building in a densely populated area, setting other buildings on fire.

The number of people possibly killed on the ground remains unclear.

Aviation officials say the pilot had radioed the Lagos control tower to declare an emergency just minutes before the plane went down.

Dana Airlines is a domestic air carrier that operates a fleet of Boeing MD-83 aircraft for the hour-long flight from Abuja to Lagos.

Media reports say chaos broke out after the crash, with rescue workers facing large crowds and aggressive soldiers while trying to reach the wreckage in the hunt for survivors.

China says six of its nationals were on the plane.