The pilot of a doomed flight in Nigeria that crashed into a Lagos neighborhood Sunday night, killing 153 people on the plane and more on the ground, was a veteran of Miramar-based Spirit Airlines.
The director of operations for Nigerian carrier Dana Air identified the pilot as Peter Waxtan, an American citizen, CNN reported Tuesday morning.
Waxtan was a captain for Spirit Airlines from 1997-2009, said spokeswoman Misty Pinson in an email.
“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,” she added.
The plane’s crew reported engine trouble before the crash, according to the Associated Press, but the exact cause remained unclear.
Nigeria's government announced Tuesday it has indefinitely suspended the license of Dana Air, the carrier that operated the MD-83 airplane that crashed Sunday in the country's largest city, the AP reported.
In addition to the pilot, other U.S. citizens were aboard the flight, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, but he could not provide a firm number to the Associated Press.
A woman from West Hartford, Connecticut, her husband and four young children died on board the flight. The Tuesday edition of the Hartford Courant newspaper identified the family as Maimuna Anyene, her Nigerian husband Onyeke, and their children, a 5 month old, 1-year-old twins and a 3 year old.
Family members said Americans Josephine Onita and Jennifer Onita of Missouri City, Texas were killed in the crash. The family said the sisters were in Lagos to attend a wedding.
This report was supplemented with information from the Associated Press.