As investigators grimly combed through the wreckage of the Nigerian plane crash, the aircraft's flight history emerged Monday, and it included a Long Beach Airport episode.
On Aug. 20, 2006, according to the Federal Aviation Administration and the Aviation Safety Network, the same plane was evacuated after landing at Long Beach Airport because of smoke in the cabin.There had been a prior such incident: on Nov. 2, 2002, the plane made an emergency diversion because of smoke and an electrical smell in the cabin.
After the two smoke incidents, caused by chafing of wiring bundles in the plane, the aircraft was cleared to fly, authorities said.
According to one version of that AP story in the Palm Beach Post:
Apartment buildings, small businesses and roadside shops were smashed to bricks and rubble Sunday when the Dana Air MD-83 plowed into the area about five miles (nine kilometers) short of Lagos' Murtala Muhammed International Airport.
Pilots on the flight from Nigeria's capital Abuja to its largest city of Lagos radioed the tower that they had engine trouble shortly before the crash, but the exact cause remained unclear. The weather was clear at the time.
By nightfall, searchers with police dogs recovered 137 bodies, including those of a mother cradling an infant, according to Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency. Rescuers acknowledged they still didn't know how many people died in the wrecked apartments and smaller tin-roofed buildings along the narrow streets of Iju-Ishaga.
Some U.S. citizens were aboard the flight, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, but he could not provide a firm number.
Boeing said in a statement on its website that the company is ready to provide technical assistance to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority through the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. Dana Air said an investigation was under way with U.S. officials assisting the Nigerian government.
On April 19, 2010, the same plane made an emergency landing in Lagos because of a loss of engine power after a bird strike following takeoff, according to the Aviation Safety Network.
The plane was exported to Nigeria in early 2009. It was first delivered in 1990 with the U.S. registration number N944AS to Alaska Airlines and had two minor incidents while in the Seattle-based airline's service, according to databases of the Federal Aviation Administration and the Aviation Safety Network.
McDonnell Douglas, bought by Boeing in 1997, built the plane. It was a long-range variant of McDonnell Douglas' popular MD-80 series, one of the most widely used plane types in the 1980s and '90s. Boeing stopped manufacturing them in 1999, although they still fly in the U.S.
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