Nigerian Plane Had Spewed Smoke Before: Official

Nigeria declares time of mourning after crash
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2012 6:55 PM CDT
Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan visits the site of a plane crash in Lagos, Nigeria, Monday, June 4, 2012.   (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)
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(Newser) – Nigerian officials have declared three days of mourning and say inquiries into the plane crash that killed all 153 passengers could take months, the Guardian reports. The official in charge refused to speculate on causes, saying only that workers had recovered the plane's black box. But another official said anonymously that the plane was 22 years old—exceeding the country's 20-year cap—and had issues before, including smoke that rolled out of the cockpit at least twice.

"I can say it's not even about the age of the plane, but Dana would try to save costs by scrimping on engine maintenance," the official said. "It was an issue that had been raised with this particular plane before." On the ground, rescue workers have pulled about 65 bodies out of the rubble. "We hope the wreck will be cleared by today," said a Red Cross official. Meanwhile, witness accounts are also pouring in, describing how the plane swayed badly before overturning and crashing through three buildings. (Read more Nigeria stories.)

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