News

152-Passenger Airliner Crashes Into Apartment Building

152 passengers may have died in a crash in the Iju Ishaga area of Lagos, Nigeria. It seems that the aeroplane — from a company called Dana Air — crashed into a two-storey apartment building just after taking off. Witnesses say it hit a power line, but there is no official cause yet.

According to tweets and local blogs, witnesses are reporting burned people on the ground. The images — captured by witnesses in the area using mobile phones — show some dead bodies on the ground.

The aeroplane was an old McDonnell Douglas MD-83 with about 152 people on board, including passengers and crew. The MD-83 — aka DC-9-83 — started to fly in 1984, finishing production in 1999. It could carry 155 passengers while keeping a range of 2504 nautical miles (4636km).

There are no official casualty figures yet, according to Lagos emergency manager Femi Oke-Osanyinpolu, but it could be pretty high if you add the passengers with the people on the ground.

Two fire trucks and emergency medical teams, including 50 rescue people, are already in the area trying to rescue potential survivors from the plane and on the ground.

An AP reporter says that there are seats scattered across the area. It seems the apartment building crumbled as the firefighters were trying to put out the fiery flames and thousands of people looked on from a distance.

The fire is pretty bad, as the aeroplane had just taken off from Lagos’ airport and it was full of fuel.

It was en route to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital in the centre of the country. Like Brasília in Brazil, Abuja is a planned city built to hold the country’s administrative centre from scratch. It became the official capital of the country in 1991, after construction begun in the 1980s. Lagos is still the largest city in Nigeria.

There’s no official cause for the crash yet, although witnesses say the plane hit a power line. If that’s true, it must have been on its way down, since the runway is not close enough to that part of the town. The weather conditions were good and visibility was 10+ kilometres.

Nigeria received a Category 1 status by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2010. That’s its top safety rating, awarded to countries that can fly aeroplanes directly into US airspace. [Tondan, Opeyemi Blog, HuffPo and USA Today]