Jet Crashes Into Swamp; 72 Are Killed

A jet overshot a runway at Cameroon’s largest city and crashed into a swamp, killing 72 of the 78 people aboard, officials said Monday.

The Cameroon Airlines Boeing 737 was making a second try at landing Sunday night when it went down about 2-1/2 miles past the airport at Douala, a port city of about 900,000 on the Atlantic coast about 175 miles west of the capital, Yaounde.

A survivor told private radio station Africa Number 1 that sparks started shooting out of the right engine as the jet was about to land.

The pilot tried to abort the landing but hit some trees and plunged into the water, said the survivor, who was not identified.

The pilot was pulled from the wreckage alive, but died later. Survivors included at least two of the five crew members - a co-pilot and flight attendant.

Most of those aboard were believed to be Cameroonians, said an official of state-owned Cameroon Airlines. The flight came from the neighboring country of Benin.

Military helicopters and navy boats searched the estuaries of the Wouri River for survivors, bodies and clues to the cause of the accident, but the thick foliage hampered the hunt.

The reason for the first aborted landing was not known.

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