At least 148 people died in the northern Nigerian city of Kano on Saturday when a jet aircraft crashed into a densely populated neighbourhood soon after takeoff , Red Cross officials said.
The twin-engine, British-built BAC 1-11-500 bound for Lagos with 71 passengers and eight crew members ploughed through about a dozen buildings in the Gwammaja quarters of Kano, killing 74 passengers and as many people on the ground. Scores of people were injured.
"We can confirm that 148 people died. They included passengers on the aircraft as well as people on the ground, but the figure could be more," Patrick Bawa, spokesman of the Nigerian Red Cross told IRIN on Sunday.
Among the dead was Nigeria's minister of sports, Ishaya Mark Aku, on his way to Lagos to watch a friendly football match between the national team and Kenya.
EAS Airline, the operators of the aircraft, said four people, including three passengers and one crew member survived the crash.
The flight had originated in the central city of Jos and made a brief stop in Kano to take in more passengers. Air traffic control officials said the pilot reported problems with one of the engines just before the plane went down.
Recovery teams were still scouring the crash site on Sunday, retrieving the dead. Red Cross vehicles worked through Saturday and Sunday, taking bodies to mortuaries across the city.
President Olusegun Obasanjo, who was on a tour of southern Africa when the accident occurred, cut short his trip to return home. In a broadcast to the nation early on Sunday, Obasanjo declared two days of mourning and said investigations would be launched immediately.
"This is an accident that calls for immediate and detailed investigation to ascertain the cause or causes and to prevent reoccurrence," he said.
The president added that foreign experts would be invited if necessary to ensure a thorough investigation.
The crash represents Nigeria's worst aviation accident since 1996, when a Boeing 727 aircraft operated by another local airliner, Aviation Development Company, plunged into the Lagos lagoon while approaching to land, killing all 145 passengers and crew on board.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions