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159 killed in Lagos plane crash: *153 passengers, 6 crew on board

A DANA aircraft, carrying 153 passengers and six crew members on board crash-landed in Iju, Agege, on the outskirts of Lagos yesterday. The aircraft, with registration number 5N-RAM, which left Abuja en-route Lagos, was reported to have crashed around 3:45p.m. No survivors were reported.
Reports said the crew of the aircraft declared May Day, an emergency announcement in the aviation industry, some 11 nautical miles to Lagos as the plane caught fire. Dana Air flight 9J-997 was completely destroyed as it crashed into some storey buildings and a warehouse. Ten bodies were removed from the wreckage of the plane by rescue workers as at 10:00 pm yesterday. The plane left Abuja at 2.13 and was expected to land at Lagos airport by 3.21pm according to the manifest made available to Daily Trust.

Hundreds of wailing relations of passengers on the airliner, both the elderly and children, besieged the local wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Ikeja yesterday seeking information on the flight.

On board were 109 men, 26 women, five children and six infants. Some of the passengers on board the plane included former Federal Permanent Secretary Ibrahim Damcida, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Levi Ajounuma, Ehime Aikhomu, son of late Admiral Augustus Aikhomu, Mainstreet bank director, Shehu Sa’ad Usman, Lt Col Chumbo Ochigbo, Major I. G. Mohammed and retired DIG John Ahmadu.

Addressing the press shortly after the accident, Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah said said she was “extremely saddened” by the news of the crash and assured the nation that investigations were underway.’

She said: “Today (Sunday, June 3, 2012) at about 3.43 PM local time. The Dana Air flight 0992 from Abuja to Lagos declared an emergency with the Lagos control tower at 11 nautical miles to Mutala Muhammed Airport (MMA2). The flight was found to have crashed into a residential building around Iju area, Agege with 153 people on board. The flight was found to have crashed into a residential building around Iju area, Agege with 153 people on board.”

Oduah who was fought back tears said there was no survivor on the flight. “At this time, no survivor; our hearts and prayers go to the families of the passengers and the people on ground who lost their lives. The federal government will ensure that this incident is thoroughly investigated to determine the exact cause of the accident in order to prevent a similar occurrence,” she said.

Spokesman of Dana Air, Mr Tony Usidamen who addressed some relations of those on board the aircraft outside the Departure Hall of the local wing of the airport, read out the names of passengers who were on the ill-fated flight.

Usidamen said he had no more details to give them, adding that rescue operations were still ongoing at the crash site in Iju, Agege, near Lagos.

Meanwhile, the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Dr Harold Demuren, who also addressed the passengers’ relations, described the crash as a national disaster.

“We need to be with you people at this point in time,’’ he told them, adding that investigation into the DANA Air crash had begun.

Asked if they were survivors among the passengers on board when the plane crashed, he said: “We don’t believe there are survivors…Right now our thoughts and prayers are with the families.’’

Early efforts to rescue victims of the crash were hampered by the presence of a huge crowd of onlookers, miscreants and sympathisers. The rescue teams included the police, Red Cross, Army, FRSC, Nigeria Air Force and men of the Fire Service..

Security personnel found it very difficult to control the crowd. At a point, the army personnel that were drafted there resulted in using force as the huge crowd at the scene prevented emergency rescue operations.

Earlier this year, Dana Air plane was involved in an emergency landing at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos. The aircraft with registration number 5N-SRI was coming from Uyo with 86 passengers on board, but was forced to have an emergency landing due to the discovery of a hydraulic pressure by the pilot while the aircraft was still in the airspace. No casualty was recorded.

Culled from Daily Trust, Nigeria.


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