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U.S. Investigators Start Probe of Nigeria’s Dana Air Disaster

Officials from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board arrived in Nigeria to help investigate the June 3 crash of a Dana Airlines Ltd. aircraft, the world’s worst civilian air disaster this year.

The U.S. officials will work alongside Nigeria’s Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB spokesman Tunji Oketunbi said. “They’re working with us to gather materials and evidence,” he said by phone today from the commercial capital, Lagos. “They will be with us throughout the investigation.”

The Dana Airlines flight from the capital, Abuja, crashed into the heavily populated Agege suburb of Lagos on June 3 as it approached the city’s Murtala Muhammed International Airport. The Boeing Co. MD-83 plane plunged to the ground, bursting into flames and killing 153 people on board and 10 on the ground.

The crash was the worst air disaster in Africa’s top oil producer since Jan. 22, 1973, when a plane carrying 176 passengers and crew went down in the northern city of Kano, killing everyone on board. It was the fourth accident in the country in 10 years that’s claimed the lives of more than 100 people. A military transport plane crashed in September 1992 shortly after takeoff from Lagos, killing 163 soldiers and crew.

The crash-proof recorders on the jet, known as black boxes, were sent to the U.S. last week for analysis, Oketunbi said.

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