Nigeria Plane Crash Leaves At Least 153 Dead

A passenger plane has crashed into buildings in a densely-populated area of Nigeria's largest city, Lagos, killing all 153 people on board and - it is feared - many others on the ground.

"The fear is that since it happened in a residential area, there may have been many people killed," said Yushau Shuaib, a spokesman for Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency.

A Nigeria Red Cross report said that 48 bodies had been recovered, with more being dug out from the rubble.

The president, Goodluck Jonathan, has declared three days of national mourning following the tragedy - the country's worst air disaster for nearly two decades.

"We have been working very hard to improve the aviation in this country," Mr Jonathan said after viewing the destruction caused by Sunday's crash.

"This particular incident is a major setback for us... By the end of the day, I will make sure that this will not repeat itself in the country."

The Dana Air flight was flying from the capital Abuja to Lagos, according to civil aviation chief, Harold Denuren. He said rescue workers have not found any survivors.

The aircraft smashed through a furniture shop and then into residential buildings next to the store near Lagos airport.

It tore through roofs, sheared a mango tree and rammed into a woodworking studio, a printing press and at least two apartment buildings before stopping.

The dead include at least four Chinese citizens, the official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

Two of the crash victims were Lebanese, according to Lebanon's National News Agency.

The cause is not yet known - but a military official has said the pilots reported engine trouble shortly before the crash.

Authorities were unable to prevent a crowd of thousands gathering at the crash site as emergency services struggled to put out the fires around the wreckage.

Onlookers crawled over the plane's broken wings and stood on the smouldering remains, some filming and taking pictures on their mobile phones.

About 10 burnt bodies were removed from a building damaged in the crash.

One witness, Praise Richard said: "I don't think there will be any survivors. It would take a miracle."

He said he heard a loud explosion that sounded like a bomb. He rushed outside and saw a lot of smoke and flames rising from the crash site.

On April 19, 2010, the plane made an emergency landing at Lagos due to loss of engine power after a bird strike following takeoff, according to the Aviation Safety Network.

The plane was formerly owned by Alaska Airlines, where it suffered two minor incidents.

In 2002, the plane made an emergency diversion due to smoke and electrical smell in the cabin, and in, 2006, the plane was evacuated after landing at Long Beach, California because of smoke in the passenger cabin.

On Saturday night, a Nigerian Boeing 727 cargo airliner crashed in Accra , the capital of Ghana, slamming into a bus and killing 10 people. The plane belonged to Lagos-based Allied Air Cargo.

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