4th June, 2012
At least 94 bodies have been recovered from the site of Dana Air plane crash which occurred on Sunday afternoon in Lagos, southwest Nigeria, and the airline has cancelled all its flights nationwide.
“The information we have now is that 94 bodies have been recovered from the site of the crash and brought to the Lagos State General Hospital. Some of the bodies are burnt beyond recognition and the hospital is carrying out DNA tests to help you identify your loved ones,” Corporate Communications Manager of Dana Air, Mr Tony Usidiamen, told relatives of the victims at the Lagos airport today.
The crash killed 153 people on board and others on the ground. Major General Tahir Umar whose name appeared on the manifest missed the flight, army officials told P.M.NEWS today at the Dana Accident Information Centre located at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Two, MMA2.
Six children and six infants were among the victims and entire family members were also killed.
In a statement, Dana Air Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Jacky Hathiramani, said he was deeply saddened by the tragic loss of passengers and crew members and promised to keep them informed.
“The Dana Air family is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of the passengers and crew of Flight 9J-922 of Sunday, June 3, 2012. The aircraft, with registration Number 5N-RAM, departed Abuja for Lagos with 146 passengers on board. One Dana Air Flight Engineer, 2 Pilots and 4 Cabin Crew were also aboard the flight.
“We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the deceased, and we are doing everything we can to assist them in this extremely difficult time. A 24 hour Call Centre service has been initiated and we have also set up an information centre at MMA2 to look after their needs and keep them as quickly informed as possible. Contact Numbers: 01-2809888 and 07003593262.”
The McDonnell Douglas MD-83 was coming into land on a flight from the capital Abuja when it hit the buildings, not far from Lagos’s Murtala Muhammed Airport, at 2:44 p.m. and burst into flames, according to the airline.
Among the dead was the spokesman for the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, Levi Ajuonuma, according to a passenger list released by the airline.
Ajuonuma was also the spokesman for the oil minister in OPEC member Nigeria, Africa’s biggest crude producer.
Also among the dead were Onita Jennifer and Onita Josephine, two sisters who came to Nigeria for the first time recently.
Another victims was a young woman who graduated from Covenant University, completed her youth service corps and went for a masters degree abroad and had just returned to Nigeria.
Also among the dead was Shehu Usman Saad, one of the directors of Premium Pension. His three brothers and a son came to the Lagos Airport to identify him. He had ten sons, his first son, Mubarak Saad, who just clocked 28 told P.M.NEWS.
Also among the dead was Emeka Okere, his brother, Michael Okere said, adding that he had been General Manager at Diamond Bank and was recently employed by FCMB. He was coming to Lagos for a seminar. He was married and had two children.
At the Iju Ishaga site of the crash a combined search and rescue operation was ongoing.
The Chief Executive Officer, Lagos State Emergency Management Authority, LASEMA, Dr Femi Oke-Osanyintolu disclosed that dead bodies recovered so far from the plane are 70 as at round 10 am today. By 13.00 today, the figure had jumped 115.
Osanyintolu added that five injured people were also removed from the two storey building which the plane plunged into, saying four of them had been treated and discharged while one is still in the hospital.
He stated that the dead people had been taken to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, LASUTH.
According to Osanyintolu, DNA test would be conducted on the dead bodies to ascertain who is who, while he was silent on the issue of mass burial for unidentified victims.
Two cranes arrived early Monday to clear debris and allow rescue workers better access to the densely populated area near the airport where the Dana Air plane crashed on Sunday, with the 153 people on board presumed dead.
A few thousand onlookers gathered at the site, where a church, a two-storey residential building and a printing shop were badly damaged. The number of those killed on the ground remained unclear.
Smoke was still rising from the scene and water trucks were also brought in to douse the smouldering wreckage.
“We were lucky. We just finished our church service when this thing happened,” one resident at the scene on Monday morning said.
One woman, who said that her uncle had been aboard the plane, asked rescue workers if she could have access to the site, but they refused, saying the bodies were unrecognisable.
President Goodluck Jonathan has declared three days of national mourning for victims of the crash.
Governor Babatunde Fashola has directed that people who were displaced from the buildings around as a result of the crash be rehabilitated at the Lagos State Relief Camp, Agbowa area of the state.
Governor Babatunde Fashola was at the scene of the crash this morning and described the incident as horiffic and condoled with those who lost their lives.
The governor said he lacked words to express the pains he felt, saying that the incident is sad and tough.
“These are people trying to earn a living and ended up like this. Families, pilot, crew and others have had their lives cut short. It is painful. I also condole with the Dana Air over the loss,” he said.
“Some victims from the houses survive with injuries and are in our hospitals, we need everybody’s support”, he added.
Fashola appealed to members of the public to allow the rescue operators to do their job and ordered the police to arrest anyone trying to prove difficult.
Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State was aslo at the scene this morning where he condoled with families of the victims.
President Goodluck Jonathan was also expected at the crash site Monday.
—Simon Ateba, Kazeem Ugbodaga, Bayo Adetu& Oluwole Adeboye &