Lagos: A Nigerian airline whose airplane crashed in the country`s largest city, killing 153 on board and more on the ground, defended itself on Wednesday against growing public criticism, saying its own chief engineer died on the doomed flight.
Francis Ogboro, an executive who oversees Dana Air, also told journalists the MD-83 that crashed on Sunday underwent strenuous checks like the others the carrier owns and that he routinely flies.
The chief engineer "certainly would not have allowed that aircraft to take off" if there was a problem, Ogboro said. "No airline crew would go on a suicide mission."
Emergency officials yesterday stopped searching for those killed at the crash site in Iju-Ishaga, the Lagos neighbourhood about nine kilometres (five miles) from Lagos` Murtala Muhammed International Airport.
Searchers there recovered 153 complete corpses as well as fragmented remains before halting their efforts, said Yushau Shuaib, a spokesman for Nigeria`s National Emergency Management Agency.
It is unclear from the fragments collected how many victims there are, officials said, acknowledging that a complete death toll could likely take weeks.