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Two survive Nigeria airliner crash

The wing of a crashed EAS Airlines plane lies on the roof of a house in Kano, Nigeria, Saturday.  

KANO, Nigeria (CNN) -- At least 74 people are dead after a Nigerian airliner on a domestic flight crashed into buildings in the northern city of Kano.

But at least two of those aboard, a female crew member and a male passenger, survived.

The BAC 1-11-500 aircraft hit a densely populated residential area, flattening homes. The death toll is expected to rise.

One of the survivors, Najib Ibrahim, told CNN he had heard shouts that the plane was "coming down, coming down."

"I thought I had no chance -- I was surrounded by fire," he said. "I was lucky because I was sitting near the exit door. That's how I found my way outside."

Ibrahim Ado said the EAS Airlines (Executive Airline Services) plane had just taken off from the Kano airport en route to Lagos in southwest Nigeria when it crashed in the neighborhood of Gwammaja.

Local media reports said 105 were aboard but later a Federal Aviation Authority officials told Reuters the plane was carrying 69 passengers and seven crew -- 76 in all.

David Clark of the AFP news agency told CNN that a reporter at the scene said 74 bodies had been recovered from the wreckage.

Clark said the crash destroyed about 10 houses and it was impossible to say how many had died on the ground.

Reuters quoted a fire service official as saying: "As of now the bodies of about 40 people have been recovered from the houses."

Wreckage of the crashed plane's fuselage lies amidst remnants of houses destroyed in Kano, Nigeria, Saturday.  

Two witnesses reported seeing the plane "weaving from side to side" after taking off, Clark told CNN, and it was clearly having difficulties.

Another witness said that as the jet went into a nosedive the wings caught fire before it hit the ground.

Air traffic controllers could not say at this stage what caused the disaster, Reuters said.

The last major Nigerian air crash occurred in November 1996, when a Nigerian Boeing 727 flying from Port Harcourt to Lagos crashed, killing all 142 passengers and nine crew members.

Nigeria deregulated its airline industry in the mid-1980s and many companies sprang up to challenge the monopoly of state carrier Nigeria Airways.

Concerns have been raised about the use of older aircraft used by the dozen or so local airline companies. Only last month the Nigerian government announced a ban on the use of aircraft older than 22 years, a move that triggered strong protests from private local airline operators.

EAS Airlines is one of several airliners servicing the country's domestic air routes. Between October 1998 and December 1999, the company took delivery of four BAC 1-11-500s.




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