14 dead as charter plane crash-lands in Lagos

A Nigerian charter plane with 20 people on board suffered engine failure shortly after takeoff from Lagos on Thursday, crash-landing near an airport fuel depot and killing at least 14 people, officials said.

The aircraft made by the Brazilian firm Embraer and operated by Nigeria’s Associated Airlines took off at 9:30 am (0830 GMT) from Lagos’s Murtala Mohammed International Airport, the aviation ministry said in a statement.

The flight destined for Akure in southwestern Ondo state crashed two minutes after takeoff with 13 passengers and seven crew on board, according to the ministry.

There were “six survivors and 14 fatalities,” Aviation Minister Stella Oduah said in a statement.

An official from the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency told AFP the cause of the crash was engine failure and that the plane burst into flames after hitting the ground.

President Goodluck Jonathan has called for a probe into the disaster, a statement from his office said.

Jonathan has “ordered a thorough investigation of the crash by all relevant agencies with a view to determining the cause and taking further actions, as may become necessary,” it said.

Authorities hardly ever make public results of probes into air crashes in Nigeria.

The plummeting aircraft narrowly missed a series of large, fuel-laden containers that lie between the international and domestic terminals, ultimately crashing in a muddy area, an AFP reporter said.

Rescue workers and firefighters combed through the charred and scattered fuselage, some of which was embedded in the heavy mud.

The aircraft’s black box had been located and handed over to aviation officials, Yakubu Dati, an aviation ministry spokesman at the scene told AFP.

The plane was carrying the remains of ex-Ondo state governor Olusegun Agagu, who had been set for burial this weekend, Joe Obi, another aviation ministry spokesman, told AFP.