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“It’s going to be messy,” Mr. Shuaib said.

Late Monday, emergency workers recovered both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder, said Tunji Oketunbi, a spokesman for the Accident Investigation Bureau, which probes airplane crashes in Nigeria.

“We will take them abroad for decoding, and that will help our analysis,” Mr. Oketunbi said Tuesday. “We will know what happened to the aircraft shortly before it crashed.”

An investigator from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board also is expected to join Nigerian authorities on Tuesday to help determine a cause for the crash, Mr. Oketunbi said.

President Goodluck Jonathan wept as he visited the crash site Monday and pledged to make air travel safer, but the crash called into question the government’s ability to protect its citizens and enforce regulations in a nation with a history of aviation disasters.

Some U.S. citizens were aboard the flight, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said, but he could not provide a firm number. A woman from West Hartford, Conn., 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.

The Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday that the crash also killed Josephine and Jennifer Onita, sisters from Missouri City, Texas.

Others killed in the crash included at least four Chinese citizens, two Lebanese nationals and one French citizen, officials said.