NEWS

Nigeria plane crash kills more than 150

06/03/2012 01:58 EDT | Updated 08/03/2012 05:12 EDT

A Nigerian official has said there were no survivors from a plane that crashed into a three-storey apartment building in the country's largest city, Lagos.

State officials say there were 153 people on board.

President Goodluck Jonathan has declared three days of mourning.

Harold Denuren, head of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, said the Dana Air flight was heading from the capital Abuja to Lagos in Nigeria.

The Lagos state government said in a statement that 153 people were on the Dana Air flight Sunday while emergency officials have put the figure at 140 to 150.

Yushau Shuaib, spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency, said they were still trying to get an official manifest on the flight. Sometimes flights in Nigeria issue paper tickets and don't record all passengers via computer.

Firefighters searching for survivors have pulled at least one body from the building, which was cratered by the plane.

Two firetrucks and about 50 rescue personnel converged on the crash site an hour after it happened. A military helicopter also flew overhead.

The plane appeared to have landed on its belly, rather than taking a nosedive.

Witnesses say the plane first hit a building that contained a few shops, including a printing press and a woodworking shop, according to BBC News, and then ploughed into the apartment building.

Crash damages residential buildings

The nose of the plane is embedded into the three-storey apartment building, damaging one part of the structure. Fire still smoldered everywhere.

Dana Air took to the skies in November 2008 and now operates 18 daily flights to four Nigeria cities: Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Uyo.

The weather in Lagos, a port city of 8 million, on Sunday was clear and sunny.

Lagos' international airport is a major hub for West Africa and saw 2.3 million passengers pass through it in 2009, according to the most recent statistics provided by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.

In August 2010, the U.S. announced it had given Nigeria the FAA's Category 1 status, its top safety rating that allows the nation's domestic carriers to fly directly to the U.S.

However, in a nation where the state-run electricity company is in tatters, state power and diesel generators sometimes both fail at airports, making radar screens go blank.

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