The Lookout

More details of plane crash in Lagos, Nigeria: American pilot reported engine trouble

Rescue workers gather at the crash site in Lagos, Nigeria, June 4, 2012. (Sunday Alamba/AP)

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The American pilot of the passenger jet that crashed in Lagos, Nigeria, on Sunday reported engine trouble shortly before the crash, airline officials said.

The Dana Air flight from Abuja to Lagos was in its final approach to Murtala Muhammed International Airport when the pilot radioed the control tower to declare an emergency, according an airline official. All 153 people on board, including six crew members, and at least 10 on the ground were killed when the McDonnell Douglas MD-83 slammed into a two-story residential building in Lagos, officials said. And more are feared dead.

[Related: Plane's age a factor?]

"The fear is that since it happened in a residential area, there may have been many people killed," Yushau Shuaib, a spokesman for Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency, told the Associated Press.

Initial rescue efforts on Sunday were "hampered by massive crowds that poured into the streets after the crash," CNN noted, "making it difficult for crews and medical workers to get to the wreckage."

According to Agence France-Presse, police used tear gas to keep the surging crowd at bay.

[Related: Nigeria's history of major plane crashes]

"This is a crash site, it is an investigation site, and we should keep our distance and allow the first responders to do their work," Lagos state governor Babatunde Fashola said, according to Reuters.

More details of Monday's recovery effort via the AP:

Police with cadaver dogs searched for bodies inside the wreckage. Overnight officials brought in a large crane from a local construction company to lift pieces of debris away. They also brought blow torches to cut through what remains of the plane. The debris still smoldered Monday morning. Some wore masks to try and protect themselves from the stench of the dead. They used the crane from the construction site to lift the tail of the aircraft. The metal shrieked as it lifted skyward and was dropped down. Investigators then climbed ladders to begin to look at its tail.

At least 80 bodies have been recovered from the still-smoldering wreckage, authorities said Monday. They are still searching for the flight data recorder.

Oscar Wason, Dana Air's director of operations, told CNN the pilot was an American, but did not release his name.

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