We Thought It Was Rapture —Crash Survivors Recount Experience

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Four occupants of the ground floor of the two-storey building which Dana Air plane crashed into in Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos State are still wondering how they escaped unhurt.

Before the crash happened, the four men said they were pre-occupied with the outcome of the football match that was to be played between Nigeria and Namibia.

Onyegesi Collins, a Geology graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, who spoke on behalf of his three other brothers, said they were discussing the match but suddenly, they heard a big bang, a sound which he said he had not heard before.

“The crash happened at exactly 3:40 p.m. and they were already running the commentary before the match would start.

“What we heard was a big bang through the front door of our house. The bang came with a red flame.

“In the confusion, we forgot ourselves, ran to the back door of our apartment.

“Unfortunately, we met the door locked and had to return through the front door where we passed directly under a part of the aircraft that plunged into our building before the aircraft went up in flames.

“Those who were in the apartments above ours could not make it, many of them died.

“These clothes you see us wearing were given to us by people around the area because we were in our boxer shots when it occurred.”

Collins said he resided in Nsukka but came to Lagos “for the Flour Mills aptitude test which was held last Thursday and I decided to stay back for a while, but now, my documents, my phones and my brother’s property are all burnt.”

Another resident of the ground floor of the building, Odika Isaiah Ifeanyi, said he had just left his house for a visit when the incident occurred.

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According to him, “when I was going out, I met one of our neighbours who later died in the flames, here (pointing at the spot) and he asked me where I was headed. I told him I was going to see a friend and we exchanged pleasantries.

“I was at Egbeda when my younger brother called me and told me our house was on fire and inside the confusion, I hurried to this place without even knowing the cause of the fire until I got here.

“It was the okada man who carried me that told me it was a plane that crashed into it.

“As I am talking with you now, I don’t have anything. My certificates and every other thing is gone

“But if not for God, who knows where I would have been now. If I were inside the room, I wouldn’t have survived.”

He said he just started working with the Flour Mills of Nigeria and contemplating moving from the area to Agbara in Ogun State so that he would be close to his place of work before the incident occurred.

Ifeanyi also said the landlord of the building does not live in the house but had to come from Surulere where he resides to assess the degree of damage to his property.

When P.M.NEWS visited the crash site this morning, evacuation was still on going, while security operatives cordoned off the entire area.

A staff of Dana Air, who spoke on the incident, said the aircraft should not have been put to use at all, adding that some staff protested against its use, but that it was management decision that the aircraft should fly.

The wallet belonging to retired DIG John Amodu, who was a passenger in the ill-fated flight was also recovered from the scene this morning

—Eromosele Ebhomele, Wole Adeboye & Dedeigbo Ayodeji