Chaos in Lagos after plane crash

2012-06-04 07:34

Lagos - Chaos broke out in the densely-populated Lagos neighbourhood where a passenger jet crashed on Sunday, as rescue workers faced heavy crowds and aggressive soldiers while trying to access smouldering wreckage.

All 153 people on board the Dana Air flight were presumed dead and more were believed to have been killed on the ground after the plane ploughed into the impoverished neighbourhood near the airport in the city of some 15 million.

Thousands of onlookers had partially blocked access to the crash site, prompting soldiers to try to clear the area out. They used rubber whips, their fists and even threw a wood plank at those crowded around.

The strong-arm tactics likely did more harm than good. Looking to evade the troops' aggression, people took off in several directions, trampling their neighbours as they tried to avoid being crushed themselves.

Some locals snaked a fire hose hoisted on their shoulders from a truck parked on the road towards the impact area.

But this effort was also interrupted by the security forces, whose aggression eventually broke up the human chain.

Some reacted by throwing stones at the troops, creating a crossfire of hailing rocks over the narrow street adjacent to the site.

The area also plunged into all-out pandemonium when a helicopter tried to land amid the crowd, kicking up clouds of ash and light debris that again scattered people in various directions.

After the crash, it appeared only a handful of rescue vehicles had managed to fight through the chaos to reach the site.


People in the neighbourhood near the airport are used to seeing planes flying low overhead, but they said it was immediately clear that the Dana Air Boeing MD83 flight was imperiled.

"The pilot was struggling to control it," said Yusuf Babatunde, 26, who mimicked wings recklessly swaying from side to side when asked to describe what the plane looked like as it went down.

The impact caused an immediate fire and sent people running, but they quickly returned, and within hours of the crash the roofs and balconies of the surrounding ramshackle buildings were flooded with those surveying the damage.

Some, according to one 50-year-old resident, sought to gain financially from the disaster.

"The looting started right away," said Tunji Malomo, who told AFP he locked up his nearby bar as soon as he heard news of the crash.

"This is busy, busy area," said Martin Ajebayo, 38, a local who said he witnessed the plane go down.

"People are living there," he added, while gesturing to the area where the plane crashed, which locals said included a printing business, a church and a two or three story residential building.

Rescue workers said several people had been pulled out alive, but few believed there would be many survivors following a high impact crash in a contained, urban area.

"Nobody can rescue them," Gift Onibo, 23, told AFP.

  • Janice - 2012-06-04 07:39

    What a hectic story!!!!

  • jamesyboi78 - 2012-06-04 07:43

    thats hectic! so many lives lost... very sad, R.I.P all!!!

  • roodbol - 2012-06-04 07:45

    Yeah, looting those who burn to death... Africa at its best. Shame on you all!

  • anthonycharles.williams - 2012-06-04 07:46


  • Henry - 2012-06-04 07:48

    Just another day in africa. Plane crashes,looting begins. Emergency personnel try to reach crash site,can't get there because the empty heads are rubber necking around the crash site(more like robbing the dead and wounded).

  • Johann - 2012-06-04 07:55

    Another world class african city!

  • AdeleFHM - 2012-06-04 07:56

    Wow so hectic!

  • Ryno - 2012-06-04 08:02

    "The looting started right away," lets not look for survivors - lets see what we can steal.

  • MSGRule - 2012-06-04 08:12

    Wow very sad for all the people. The reactions to chaos is unbeliebveable...soldiers beating people, looting from the dead.

  • Fanie - 2012-06-04 08:13

    To most Nigerians a plane crash is better then nothing!!! It must be said that Nigeria is the most useless nation in the world because of their totally corrupt minds and it will never change!!! I've been there for 4 months and it was enough to see it all!!

      princedavid.jimohailoje - 2012-06-04 11:55

      You dont know wat ur talking about.Nigerians re a peaceful people.God knows the place u went to might have been in the north were they re fighting but dont judge the whole country by one place,and if I may ask where do you come from.

  • wayne.waterson - 2012-06-04 08:13

    What has this world turned out to be....God bless to all that have lost there loved one's

      brent.goldwyer - 2012-06-04 08:19

      Not The World.............AFRICA

      themba.ntuli - 2012-06-04 09:10

      hey brent what is wrong with africa ? when i look at my fellow africans i see happy faces!! africans are the most spirited of people they survive under challenging conditions like poverty,etc. that would drive a westerner nuts or to kill himself worse but you see africans survive and live under such conditions because they are strong race...

  • themba.ntuli - 2012-06-04 09:02

    Plz people don't africanise every situation that involves blacks!! looting can happen everywhere and on any condition. it was there at hurricane katrina remember?? even this article does not say they looted the wreckage only the sorounding crash site like shops.....

      Warren - 2012-06-04 10:54

      Themba I agree, but it is easier to generalize about people and accept that it is an exception to the rule. Katrina is a great example, but these sorts of lootings happened in Germany after Crystal Night too and the list of examples goes on. This is a display of desperation and opportunism, not a race thing

      themba.ntuli - 2012-06-04 11:10

      Thanx warren you vindicated me.

      Jaco - 2012-06-04 15:18

      Cant use Katrina as a example themba. The looting and shooting was blacks. But Crystal Night is a good example.

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