African Analyst -A passenger plain slammed into an apartment building in Nigeria’s largest city shortly after takeoff Sunday. Firefighters pulled at least one body from the heavily damaged building and searched for survivors.
Casualty figures were not yet known, said Lagos state emergency manager EMI Oke-Osanyinpolu. It was unclear how many people were on board the plane or in the building, located just north of the airport. The Dana Air flight had taken off from the airport and was bound for Abuja, Nigeria’s capital in the interior of Africa’s most populous country, said Harold Denuren, head of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority. The plane went down in clear and sunny weather.
At the crash site, an Associated Press reporter saw parts of the plane’s seat signs scattered around. The rest of the plane was cratered into the apartment building. Firefighters tried to put out the smoldering flames of a jet engine and carried at least one corpse from the building that continued to crumble. Thousands of people looked on.
Two firetrucks and about 50 rescue personnel were at the site about an hour after the plane went down. A military helicopter flew overhead.
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.
The Nigerian government said it also now has full radar coverage of the entire nation. 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.