The Dana Air commercial aircraft that crashed at Iju-Ishaga, Lagos had eight U.S. citizens on board. According to Dana Air officials, the pilot was a U.S. citizen. Also on board the plane were seven other U.S. citizens.
Dana Air's director of operations, Oscar Wason, identified the American pilot as Peter Waxtan. According to Miami Herald, he was a veteran of the Miramar-based Spirit Airlines. from 1997 to 2009.
Miami Herald reports that Misty Pinson, spokeswoman of Spirit Airlines, said: “All of us at Spirit are very saddened by this tragedy and extend our heartfelt condolences to all of his loved ones and the family and friends of everyone on the flight."
Although U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner, said he could not provide the exact number of Americans on the flight, Business Day reports that a woman from West Hartford, Connecticut, her husband and four young children died in the crash.
Hartford Courant identified the woman as Maimuna Anyene. She was flying with her Nigerian husband Onyeke, their children: five-month old Noah,1-year-old twins Kaiyen and Kaima, and 3-year-old Kamsi.
According to family members, two U.S. citizens, Josephine Onita and Jennifer Onita of Missouri City, Texas were also killed in the crash while attending a wedding in Lagos.
Business Day reports that Josephine and Jennifer Onita were sisters, daughters of Solomon and Lola Onita, pastors at a Missouri City congregation of the Nigerian-based Redeemed Christian Church of God. According to the Houston Chronicle, their older sister Christiana Onita-Olojo, said, "Josephine always made people laugh. Jennifer is sweet. These are angels."
Hartford Courant reports that as news of the death of Mr and Mrs Anyene and their children spread in West Hartford, Connecticut, neighbors gathered at their Park Place Circle house to lay flowers while "struggling to come to terms with the tragedy."
According to Hartford Courant, neighbors described Mrs Anyene "as an educated, vibrant woman who was always smiling.The family were well known in their neighborhood."
Houston Chronicle reports that Jennifer Onita, 28, was a Bio-Medical Engineering student at the University of Houston Graduate School. Houston Chronicle reports: "Jennifer was an accomplished Engineer with concentrations in both Aeronautics and Defense." Her sister Josephine, 23, was an accountancy manager for the family business.
According to CNN, the American pilot sent a radio message that the plane was having trouble minutes before it crash landed. He declared emergency as the plane approached the Murtala Muhammed International Airport.
CNN reports that the Nigerian government announced on Tuesday that it had indefinitely suspended the license of Dana Air, the carrier that operated the crashed MD-83.