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Ear to the Ground

Death Toll Expected to Rise in Nigeria Plane Crash (Video)

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Posted on Jun 4, 2012
AP/Sunday Alamba

The remains of the plane at the crash site in Lagos, Nigeria, on Sunday. All 153 passengers were killed when the aircraft went down.

New details are emerging Monday after a plane crash killed at least 153 people in Nigeria over the weekend. All passengers aboard the Dana Air plane were killed, but rescue officials are concerned that more deaths will be reported on the ground. The crash happened in a densely packed neighborhood of Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city.

The Associated Press:

A Nigeria Red Cross report said 110 bodies had been recovered, with more being dug out from the rubble. A U.S. official said American citizens had been aboard the flight.

The pilots reported engine trouble before the plane fell out of the sky on a clear afternoon, smashing into businesses and crowded apartment buildings near Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed International Airport. The flight was bound for Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial center, from Abuja, the capital. Two years ago, the same MD-83 lost engine power due to a bird strike, according to an aviation database.

“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.

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As rescue efforts continue, authorities are trying to determine what caused the crash. Although results of the investigation will probably not be known for months, one possibility is that both engines failed right before the plane went down. Eyewitnesses reported seeing problems with the plane while it was still in the air. —TEB

The Christian Science Monitor:

The speculation centers on two possible causes: bird strike or lack of fuel.

In fact, this same Dana Air jet lost an engine when several birds were ingested as it took off from Lagos airport (which is near the Atlantic Ocean) in 2010, according to the Aviation Safety Network. The aircraft made an emergency landing on April 19, 2010. No one was injured.

The other leading theory is that the aircraft ran out of fuel. Running out of fuel is less common than a bird strike, but it does happen.

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