KANO, Nigeria – A Nigerian airliner slammed into mosques and houses in a busy working-class neighborhood of the northern city of Kano on Saturday, bursting into flames with what aviation authorities said were 76 people aboard.
At least two of those aboard, a female crew member and a male passenger, survived, said John Okasor, a spokesman for Nigeria's federal airport authority.
An Associated Press reporter on the scene soon after the crash saw terrified, screaming and weeping residents carrying bodies from the plane's shattered parts and the rubble of dozens of buildings.
At least one of the dead had been on the ground – a baby girl, whose scorched body was carried out wrapped in a yellow rug, as her wailing mother walked alongside.
One neighborhood resident said he helped pull a survivor, who had bone jutting out of his forehead, from the plane.
There was no firm word on the number of casualties among those on the ground and in the plane. Initial reports on private radio said there were 105 people on board. Okasor put the number at 76, including crew members.
The plane belonged to Nigeria's private EAS Airlines, one of more than a dozen independent carriers operating within the West African country. The British Aerospace twin-engine jet had room for 96 passengers.
The plane had taken off from Kano for Nigeria's commercial capital of Lagos, 435 miles to the south, Okasor said. The aircraft crashed at 1:30 p.m. about a half-mile from the airport.
Resident Umar Suleman told AP he saw the plane "wobbling" in the seconds before the crash.
Terrified residents fled just before the plane smashed into two mosques and other buildings, ripping the roof entirely off one structure. The plane burst into flames.
"I was very afraid," said another resident, 60-year-old Ibrahim Amadou.
Amadou said he was inside reading the Quran, or Muslim holy book, when the tail of the plane shattered the corner of his house. For frightened minutes after, he said, "I was just praying to God."
Residents returned and joined others trying to give help.
Suleman said he found one man still sitting on a seat in the plane, "his forehead broken," with bone sticking out.
The man was alive. Suleman said he helped him from the rubble.
Distraught residents were doing most of the search themselves. Rescue workers, some with heavy machinery, helped clear the rubble and look for bodies.
People in the neighborhood said they were worried especially for any who might have been caught inside the mosques, praying, when the plane hit. Northern Nigeria is heavily Islamic.
Kano State Gov. Rabiu Isa Kuamkwaso visited the scene of the crash late Saturday, adding to confusion at the scene, as distraught residents pushed to talk to him and were pushed back by security.