Nation grieves for victims in Nigeria’s largest plane disaster in 20 years
By Fungai Maboreke
Trice Edney News Wire
President Goodluck Jonathan declared three days of national mourning for the victims of a horrific plane crash June 3 in which the aircraft, flying into Lagos, lost altitude and plummeted into a residential area, exploding in flames. All the passengers, over 150 people, died at the scene.
The federal government suspended the operational license of Dana Air, citing “safety precautionary reasons,” pending investigations.
At least two people on the ground, including a woman clutching a baby in her arms, were also killed. There were no known mechanical problems, according to Dana Air’s flight operations director, Oscar Wilson. “There was nothing wrong with the aircraft,” he said. “I am the pilot who did the (last) … operational test flight.”
Among the victims were at least seven Americans and Nigerians with American citizenship, including a woman from West Hartford, Conn., with her husband, sister, mother-in-law and four children. Four Chinese citizens, two Lebanese and a French woman were also on the plane.
The skyrocketing growth of Lagos has seen homes, businesses and industrial sites shoot up along the approach route used by aircraft landing at the airport, changing what used to be forests and wetlands into a sprawling mega city.
The development has put the population there at risk with many aviation disasters in Nigeria over the last two decades. Emergency workers fear more on-the-ground deaths from the June 3 crash that saw the aircraft slam into two apartment buildings, a printing press and a woodworking shop.
Photo Courtesy of Associated Press