ACCIDENT DETAILS - AirDisaster.Com Accident
ACCIDENT SCENE PHOTOS - AirDisaster.Com Photo
Television shows the tail section
of the crashed Boeing 727 resting
in the Atlantic Ocean near the port
city of Cotonou.
COTONOU, Benin (Reuters) - A Boeing 727 passenger plane
crashed into the Atlantic Ocean just after takeoff in the
West African country of Benin on Thursday, killing dozens
of passengers, witnesses and airport officials said.
Witnesses said they saw at least 30 bodies strewn on
the beach near the airport in the main city Cotonou, where
the Beirut-bound plane crashed in the Gulf of Guinea.
Fishermen and volunteers scrambled to drag bodies out
of the water as they were washed ashore by waves,
prompting screams of horror from onlookers on the beach.
It was not immediately known how many people were
aboard the plane nor which airline was involved. Airport
officials said the plane could carry about 140 people.
Sixty-three passengers boarded in Cotonou.
Witnesses said most of the dead appeared to be
Lebanese. There is a large Lebanese community in West
Airport officials said the flight originated in
Conakry, capital of the West African nation Guinea, and
was traveling to Beirut via Dubai.
Airport officials said the plane had problems
retracting its landing gear after takeoff, smashed into a
building at the end of the runway, exploded and then
crashed into the sea.
Rescue workers were searching the sea after the crash,
which took place around 1415 GMT.
In December 1995 about 60 people were killed when a
Cameroon airliner on a flight from Cotonou crashed into a
swamp in Cameroon. Africa is particularly prone to air
disasters because of poor maintenance of cash-strapped