Plane crashes after take-off in Lagos, Nigeria

  • 3 October 2013
  • From the section Africa

A plane carrying 20 people has crashed shortly after take-off from Lagos airport in Nigeria, officials say.

A rescue operation is ongoing. At least 13 people are known to have died and several more of those on board were injured.

The Associated Airlines plane was bound for Akure, which lies about 140 miles (225km) north-east of Lagos.

The plane's engine appeared to fail and the aircraft plunged to the ground and burst into flames, officials said.

The charter flight took off at about 09:30 local time (08:30 GMT) from the domestic terminal at Lagos's Murtala Mohammed International Airport.

Officials said the plane crashed on to open land within the airport complex, close to a fuel storage depot.

It is not yet clear whether the fuel caught fire.

Eyewitness Ahmad Safian told the BBC: "I heard a loud bang and then there was lots of black smoke. The security forces rushed straight to the scene. I saw three bodies removed from the wreckage."

Mr Safian said the road to the airport was blocked for a short time but operations were continuing as normal at the airport.

Yakubu Dati from the Nigerian airports authority said that 20 people had been on board the plane.

Akure is the capital of Ondo state. Local media reported that the plane was carrying the body of the former state governor, Olusegun Agagu, who was to have been buried this weekend.

Although Nigeria's air safety record has improved in recent years, the country has a history of major passenger plane crashes.

In June 2012, more than 150 people were killed after a dual engine failure caused a plane to crash in Lagos.

Lagos airport is a major hub for West Africa and saw 2.3 million passengers pass through it in 2009, according to the most recent statistics provided by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria.

Onlookers gather at the wreckage of a plane in Lagos on 3 October 2013
Onlookers gathered around the wreckage at Lagos Airport in Nigeria

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