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Nigeria plane crash death toll climbs to 16 - officials say

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Rescue workers stand near the tail of a crashed plane near the Lagos international airport on Thursday.Akintunde Akinleye / Reuters
<p>The death toll has climbed to 16 following a passenger plane crash near Nigeria's largest city Lagos, authorities said.</p> <p>The Nigeria National Emergency Management Agency said that the aircraft crashed Thursday after taking off from the city's airport.</p> <p>The Nigeria's Associated Airlines plane had been bound for the city of Akure, about 170 miles away.</p> <p>There were four survivors, according to officials.</p> <p>"The plane couldn't lift properly so it just came down," Aviation Ministry spokesman Joe Obi said.</p> <p>Witness Henrie Eduozor told NBC News he was on his way to the airport in Lagos when he saw smoke rising from a nearby field. He said people ran toward the scene screaming “There’s been a crash!”</p> <p>Eduozo saw three bodies being removed from the wreckage. </p> <p>Airports Authority general manager Yakubu Dati told a news conference the Embraer 120 plane with 20 passengers on board, inclusive of crew, came down 9.32 a.m. local time (4:32 a.m. ET).</p> <p>The plane's flight recorder has been found and officials have started investigating what caused the crash.</p> <p>Several local radio stations and Channels TV reported that it was carrying a family and the body of former governor of Ondo state Olusegun Agagu to his funeral. </p> <p>Air crashes are relatively common in Nigeria, which despite having Africa's second-biggest economy has a poor safety record.</p> <p> <a target="_blank" href="http://www.faannigeria.org/airports/international-airports/lagos-mma1.html">Murtala Muhammed International Airport</a> was the scene of a <a target="_blank" href="http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/06/04/12042049-engine-problems-eyed-after-passenger-jet-crashes-in-nigeria-suburb?lite">June 2012 crash that killed 163 people</a> when a Dana Air plane crashed into a Lagos apartment block. It was the country's worst airline disaster in two decades.</p> <p> <em>Reuters contributed to this report.</em> </p>
Bystanders at the scene of a plane crash in Lagos on Thursday.Eduozor Henrie