Nigeria Mourns Plane Crash & Suicide Bomber Victims


Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 13:04 PM EDT, 4 June 2012

Nigeria Airline, Photo by Rick SchlampLAGOS, Nigeria - A Dana Airlines plane in route from Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja to Lagos State crashed in the Agege suburban as it made its final approach into Murtala Muhammed Airport. The death toll has not been confirmed, however, thus far 146 passengers, 7 crew members and 10 people on the ground have been identified as deceased.

This was the second tragedy to hit Nigeria on Sunday, 3 June 2012. Christians attending services in the Northern Bauchi State, which has previously been terrorized by the extreme Islamist group Boko Haram, were attacked by a suicide bomber who drove his car into the church killing 15 attendees and himself. (Source: ABS-CBN News)

This smaller tragedy has been eclipsed by the Lagos plane crash which still has an unknown number of casualties on the ground because of the wide swathe of carnage the plane crashed left in its wake. The pilot who is reported to be a U.S. citizen and the copilot an Indian, both died in the crash, despite the fact that stunned witnesses said the sky was clear and the weather sunny.


This plane crash was foreboded by a crash on Saturday involving another Nigerian aircraft which departed Lagos for its neighboring country, Ghana, where it overshot the runway and crashed at the International Airport in Accra. In that incident, 10 people on the ground are confirmed dead.

According to sources, a representative from the Nigeria's Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said that they are still trying to locate the black box to determine what occurred in the minutes before the crash, however, with endemic corruption and two plane crashes in as many days, stringent investigations into the maintenance of the planes and certifications of the pilots should be vigorously pursued.

Additionally, an investigation into the role, if any that air traffic controllers may have played in this tragedy needs to be investigated. Intermittent power outages across the country, as well as failures of redundant Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) which are often powered by the state's electrical power grid or diesel have a history of going off-line thereby causing significant problems.

Some report that these failures have often resulted in radar tracking being unavailable for the duration of these outages.

Nigeria's aviation industry, which had one of the world's worst safety records before 2006, worked to improve it after an ADC Airlines plane crashed that year near Abuja, killing 97 people, Harro Ranter, president of the Flight Safety Foundation's Aviation Safety Network, said in a telephone interview from Roosendaal, Netherlands. (Source: SF Gate)

Fires continue to erupt around the crash site, as jet fuel burns throughout the decimated suburb where rubble continues to smolder. Firefighters and locals are working feverishly to locate any on the ground survivors.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared three days of national mourning on Sunday night for all who lost their lives in the Dana plane crash.

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