737 Carrying 116 Goes Down After Takeoff
UPDATE 10.23.2005 1200GMT: It now
appears as many as 50 people may have survived when Bellview
Airlines Flight 210 went down Saturday night, out of 116 passengers
onboard the Boeing 737-200. The airliner lost contact with
controllers shortly after takeoff, and went down in Kishi, Oyo
state -- about 120 miles north of its takeoff point of
"There are many survivors. 50 or thereabouts. About half,"
the Oyo state government spokesman told Reuters.
It has been confirmed a heavy electrical storm was occurring
when the airliner took off, although it is not yet known if weather
played a factor in the accident. However, the pilot was able to
make a distress call minutes after takeoff, indicating the aircraft
had a technical problem, according to a source at the Nigerian
Eleven hours after the accident occurred, Bellview Airlines
still could not confirm the airliner had gone down, according to
media reports -- causing frustration and anger among those awaiting
word on the fate of family members and friends onboard the jet.
Identities of those on the flight have yet to be released.
A Bellview Airlines B737-200 (file photo of type, bottom)
enroute to the Nigerian capital of Abuja went down shortly after
takeoff from Lagos Saturday night. Poor weather conditions were
reported at the time the airliner took off for the planned
"It took off at 8:45 and lost contact," said Jide Ibinola, a
spokesman for the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), to
There was no information available as to survivors, or of the
identities of the 110 passengers and six crew believed to be
onboard Bellview Airlines Flight 210. However, at least one
high-level Nigerian official was believed to be onboard, according
Two rescue helicopters
dispatched to locate the accident site in the dark were
unsuccessful, forcing crews to wait until morning to attempt to
find where the airplane went down. Flights departing Lagos usually
fly over the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic, before banking back to
head to Abuja, according to media reports.
Bellview, a privately-owned Nigerian airline that is popular
with expatriates living in the West African nation, is believed to
have had an exemplary safety record prior to this accident.