Lagos, Oct 4: At least 15 people lost their lives Thursday when a chartered aircraft crashed minutes after taking off from the Murtala Muhammad International Airport here, Nigerian authorities said.
A statement from Nigeria’s aviation ministry said that 27 people were on board the crashed aircraft, Xinhua reported.
“An Embraer aircraft operated by Associated Airlines with Reg No SCD 361 en route Akure from MMA, Lagos, crashed shortly after take-off at about 9.30 a.m. local time. The plane had 20 passengers and seven crew members on board,” the ministry said.
Spokesperson for the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Yakubu Dati confirmed the figures of the dead. Five other passengers were rescued.
The survivors were taken to the Nigerian Air Force Hospital for treatment and the dead were taken to its morgue.
The aircraft crashed in the fuel dump area of the airport and caught fire, Rask Fadipe, the director of Lagos State Fire Service, told Xinhua by phone.
Fadipe said he deployed three fire fighting vehicles of 10,000 liters capacity each, which put out the fire.
The aircraft broke into two with the front section burnt beyond recognition and the back area almost intact, the fire official said.
Dati said the chartered aircraft was carrying the remains of the late governor of Ondo State, Segun Agagu.
The aircraft broke into two with its cockpit compartment seriously burnt, while the remaining part that included the luggage compartment, was slightly burnt.
However, the casket containing the remains of Agagu, kept in the luggage compartment, was intact when it was removed from the wreckage.
Fire engines were brought in to put off the blaze. Two cranes also arrived to clear the debris.
Police officers and rescue workers were seen on the ground to evacuate victims.
An MD 83 aircraft belonging to Dana Airline crashed in the area of Iju-Ishaga in Lagos, claiming 159 lives on June 3, 2012.