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More than 150 killed in Nigeria plane crash

Nigerians gather Sunday at the site of a plane crash in Lagos. The aircraft’s pilots radioed to the control tower before the crash saying the plane had engine trouble, a military official said.

Associated Press

Nigerians gather Sunday at the site of a plane crash in Lagos. The aircraft’s pilots radioed to the control tower before the crash saying the plane had engine trouble, a military official said.

LAGOS, Nigeria — A commercial airliner crashed into a densely populated neighborhood in Nigeria's largest city on Sunday, killing all 153 people on board and others on the ground in the worst air disaster in nearly two decades for the troubled nation.

The cause of the Dana Air crash remained unknown Sunday night, as firefighters and police struggled to put out the flames around the wreckage of the Boeing MD83 aircraft. Authorities could not control the crowd of thousands gathered around to see the crash site, with some crawling over the plane's broken wings and standing on a still-smoldering landing gear.

Harold Demuren, the director-general of Nigeria's Civil Aviation Authority, said all on board the flight were killed in the crash. Lagos state government said in a statement that 153 people were on the flight traveling from Nigeria's central capital of Abuja to Lagos in the nation's southwest.

The flight's pilots radioed to the control tower just before the crash, saying the plane had engine trouble, a military official said.

Rescue officials feared many others were killed or injured on the ground, but no casualty figures were available. Firefighters and residents were seen carrying the corpse of a man from one building, its walls crumbling and flames shooting from its roof an hour after the crash.

President Goodluck Jonathan later declared three days of national mourning in Africa's most populous nation.

The dead included at least four Chinese citizens, the official Chinese news agency Xinhua reported late Sunday, citing Chinese diplomats in Nigeria.

Nigeria has a history of major aviation disasters, though in recent years there hasn't been a crash of a passenger airliner.

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.

Suicide bomber: A suicide car bomber drove into a church compound in Bauchi in northern Nigeria on Sunday and detonated his explosives as worshippers left a morning service, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens more, officials and witnesses said. No group claimed responsibility, but the attack comes as Nigeria faces a growing wave of sectarian violence carried out by a radical Islamist sect known as Boko Haram.

More than 150 killed in Nigeria plane crash 06/03/12 [Last modified: Sunday, June 3, 2012 11:49pm]

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