A witness now reports two explosions from the Nigerian Bellview Airlines crash Monday
This raises questions about the cause of the disaster. None of the 111 passengers and 6 crew survived.
The Boeing 737 bound for Abuja 50 minutes away came down 2-3 minutes after takeoff 20 miles north of Lagos at Lissa, where villagers report a large bang followed seconds later by a huge explosion. This could suggest a mid-air explosion in an engine, in the cabin or the cargo bay. One local account suggests the possibility of the airliner being struck by a heat-seeking missile. Others that one of the plane’s two engines was shaken loose from its wing by a thunder storm and hit the ground with enormous force still running – before the plane came down. The impact was great, flinging the plane’s fragments across a vast area, sinking a crater 70ft deep and mangling the bodies.
Both engines were towed out of the crater overnight for a photo.
The pilot’s distress signal coincided with the moment that the Lagos airport tower lost visual sight of the plane.
Aviation experts noted to debkafile that it took the Nigerian authorities most of a day to locate the crash site just north of the capital. First, they reported the plane came down in the Atlantic, then 100 miles north of Lagos; first that half the people on board were safe, then that none had survived. The number of people aboard likewise fluctuated. Bellview which also flies to London has never had a crash in its 12-year’s operation and is considered one of the few safe airlines in Africa, in contrast to Nigeria’s sloppy record.
Among the passengers was an African economic minister.
Nigerian president Obasanjo joined the rescue operations Monday hours after his wife Stella died of surgery in a Spanish hospital