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Nigerian Officials Say No Survivors in Plane Crash

Nigerian Red Cross officials say all on board a Boeing 737 passenger jet died in a crash late Saturday on a flight from the main city Lagos to the capital Abuja. More than 115 people are believed to have been on board.

The latest reports indicate there were no survivors in the crash, contradicting earlier statements by a state official saying half the people on board had survived. That official also now says there were no survivors.

Red Cross officials contacted by international news agencies said there are no traces of survivors.

Nigerian AIT television showed images of mangled bodies, human parts, a flight ticket and what appeared to be part of the jet's tail.

It said the images came from near Lagos.

The Lagos control tower lost touch with the plane minutes after it left the city bound for Abuja amid reports of stormy weather late Saturday.

The plane was operated by Bellview Airlines, which has had no other crashes in its 10 years of existence. It operates in Nigeria and West Africa and is popular with foreigners as well as prominent African officials and businessmen.

It is not on a list of several African airlines which have recently been blacklisted by various airline safety agencies outside Africa.

A journalist in Lagos, Paul Okolo says aviation authorities in Nigeria have been trying to make improvements.

"There is no doubt that there is room for improvement to bring airlines up to international standards, but then the aviation authorities have in the last three or four years done quite some work in making sure that airline operations upgrade their aircraft," he said.

Africa accounts for just four percent of worldwide airline traffic, but for about 25 percent of crashes. Many of the continent's airlines are banned from landing outside Africa.

The last major plane crash in Nigeria was in 2002 when more than 140 people died in another internal flight near the northern city of Kano.