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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 October 2005, 21:30 GMT 22:30 UK
All killed in Nigeria plane crash
Rescue workers carry the remains of a victim of a plane crash in Nigeria
It is not yet known what caused the plane to crash soon after takeoff
All 117 passengers and crew of a commercial airliner which crashed on an internal flight in Nigeria on Saturday were killed, the government has said.

There had initially been conflicting reports about whether anyone survived.

But officials at the scene said no-one could have survived the plane's impact, the cause of which remains unknown.

Senior officials, including an MP and a general, were said to be on the flight. The government has declared three days of national mourning from Monday.

President Olusegun Obasanjo urged all Nigerians to pray for the victims and their families.

Anxious relatives

The pilot of Bellview Airlines flight 210 sent a distress signal just after taking off from Lagos for the Nigerian capital, Abuja, in stormy weather at 2045 (1945 GMT) on Saturday.

The plane was first reported found on Sunday morning by a police helicopter search team near the rural town of Kishi, Oyo state, 400km (320 miles) from Lagos. It was suggested 50 people might have survived.

Map of Nigeria

But officials later retracted statements about the plane's location and survivors after a TV crew said it had found the aircraft near the village of Lissa in Ogun state, about 50km (30 miles) from Lagos.

Images of mangled bodies, twisted chunks of metal and ripped luggage were broadcast.

The National Emergency Management Agency said on Sunday afternoon that the plane had crashed and burst into flames in swampland north of Lagos.

Spokesman Ibrahim Farinloye told AFP news agency that the plane hit the ground with such speed it was partly buried under ground. No-one on the plane would have lived after the initial impact, he said.

Nigerian Red Cross officials confirmed no sign of survivors had been found at the scene.

NIGERIA PLANE CRASHES
May 2002: Plane operated by EAS Airlines crashes in Kano, killing 148 people - half of them on the ground
November 1996: 142 people die when Boeing 727 owned by Nigeria's ADC airline plunges into lagoon 85 km (55 miles) from Lagos
September 1992: 158 people are killed when military transport plane goes down near Lagos

Hundreds of anxious relatives and friends of the 111 passengers and six crew have besieged the domestic terminal of Lagos airport seeking information.

The names of those killed, most thought to be Nigerians, have not yet been released.

In the meantime, Bellview Airlines has suspended all its flights from Lagos.

Bellview's management said the crash was the first by one of its planes in the company's 12-year history, the BBC's Sola Odunfa in Lagos reports.

The airline is a private Nigerian company, popular with foreigners and wealthy Nigerians, which flies routes throughout west Africa, mainly using Boeing 737s.

Nigeria has one of the world's worst air safety records, having been the scene of several crashes and near-misses.

An Air France plane was badly damaged after striking a herd of cows while trying to land in the oil city of Port Harcourt in July. No passengers were hurt.

In May 2002, a plane crashed near the city of Kano, killing nearly 150 people.


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Watch scenes from the crash




SEE ALSO:
In pictures: Nigerian plane crash
23 Oct 05 |  In Pictures
Country profile: Nigeria
11 Oct 05 |  Country profiles
Virgin takes to Nigeria's skies
28 Sep 04 |  Business


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