Mon June 4, 2012
Update: Witnesses Say Plane Almost Hit Nigerian Hospital
Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 5:19 am
There's some new reporting to pass along about Sunday's crash of an airliner in Lagos, Nigeria, which killed more than 150 people on board and a still unknown number of people on the ground:
-- "Eyewitnesses who saw the plane struggling to maintain altitude before crashing to the ground said the plane had almost crashed into Longe Private Hospital in the area, but that it suddenly regained some thrust of engine power, only to go on and crash into several buildings three streets away from the hospital." (Nigeria's widely read Sahara Reporters).
-- The crew "reported engine trouble just before [the jet] went down, said Harold Demuren, director-general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority." (The New York Times)
-- Minister of Aviation Stella Oduah-Ogiewonyi, "who could not hold back tears," vowed the crash will be thoroughly investigated. (Nigeria's The Guardian)
(Above update added at 1:15 p.m. ET.)
Our original post — "Nigeria Mourns 'National Disaster;' Plane Crash Killed Scores":
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has declared three days of official mourning in his country as investigators begin to look into why a passenger jet carrying more than 150 people crashed into a densely populated area of Lagos on Sunday.
All aboard were reportedly killed and it's feared there were also many fatalities on the ground.
According to CNN, the Dana Air jet's pilot — an unidentified American — "radioed that the plane was having trouble" minutes before the crash. The plane came down about 4 miles from the airport in Lagos, according to the newssite allAfrica.com. It was on a flight from Abuja, Nigeria's capital in the center of the country, to Lagos on the Gulf of Guinea.
Voice of America and other news outlets report the plane was a Boeing MD-83. The BBC writes that its correspondent in Nigeria says that on May 11 "a similar Dana Air plane — possibly the same one — developed a technical problem and was forced to make an emergency landing in Lagos." AllAfrica.com says the plane was sold to Nigeria's Dana Air in 2009 by Alaska Airlines.
Sunday's tragedy is "a national disaster," Professor Peter Okebukola of Nigeria's National Universities Commission, tells allAfrica. He was at the airport in Lagos when the crash occurred. Four of the commission's staff members, he said, were killed when the plane went down.
This is Nigeria's fourth crash in the past decade to have killed more than 100 people, the BBC adds.