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American Pilot, Recorders Among MD-83 Crash Details

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Early details emerging about the MD-83 that crashed Sunday in Nigeria, killing all 153 aboard and possibly scores more on the ground, include reports that the jet's voice and data recorders were recovered Monday and that the captain was an American. The jet's flight crew reportedly included the American captain, an Indian co-pilot and an Indonesian flight engineer. The crew reported a technical problem while approximately 11 miles out on approach to the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos. The jet crashed one minute later. Early reports state that witnesses heard a loud vibrating sound and saw the aircraft flying in an unstable manner before flipping over and impacting three buildings in a local suburb. At 22 years old, the aircraft's age alone may bring its operator Dana Air, and regulators, additional problems. 

Speaking on condition of anonymity, an official noted that the airliner was 22 years old and that a ban was in place on planes older than 20 years old, The Guardian reported Monday. Dana Air is an Indian-owned company and was operating the aircraft out of the Nigerian capital of Abuja for Lagos. The crash aircraft had reportedly suffered a bird strike and lost power in an engine two months prior to Sunday's crash. Its long-term history includes work for Alaska Air, which purchased the jet in 1990 and appears to have operated it through 2008. Following the crash, crowds from the local suburb surged toward the accident site and Nigerian police used tear gas to disperse the crowd, according to an AFP reporter. Buildings impacted by the aircraft include a two-story residential building, a print shop and a church. One resident told reporters that churchgoers were lucky that services had just finished when the accident took place.

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