Just as the black box of the ill-fated Dana Airline was recovered on Monday, it has emerged that a family of five who had visited Nigeria for a wedding ceremony perished in the air disaster.
Mrs Maimuna Anyene had come from Pennsylvania State in the United States with her husband and three children to attend a wedding ceremony.
The wedding took place on Saturday in Abuja and the family was returning back to Lagos to commence preparation for their return journey back to the United States when they met their tragic death on the crashed Dana aircraft. Many other invitees to the wedding were caught in the planer tragedy.
Also on Monday evening, National Emergency Director, Air Commodore Alexander Bankole disclosed that search and rescue operations were being suspended till Tuesday after the body of a woman clutching a baby was recovered.
The General Manager of Lagos State Emergency Management Agency, Femi Oke-Osanyintolu also on Monday disclosed that that 25 of the bodies removed from the scene of the plane crash were intact while the others were burnt beyond recognition.
A concerted effort to identify burnt bodies has been initiated by the Lagos State Ministry of Health through DNA tests on the corpses to ascertain the identities of those burnt in the crash.
Among those who died were son of the late former Vice President Augustus Aikhomu, Ehime Aikhomu, Celestine Onwuliri, former Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Technology, Owerri (FUTO), who was also the husband of the current Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.
The death list also include Group Public Affairs Manager of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Levi Ajuonuma.
Others include a retired permanent secretary, Ibrahim Damcida and as stated above, lots of people who attended a wedding at the weekend in Abuja.
So far, 137 bodies have been removed from the scene of the air crash with rescuers witnessing difficulties in identifying some bodies.
153 passengers were on board with members of the crew as the plane approached an approximately five minutes landing at the Murtala Mohammed Local Airport.
NEMA’s spokesperson, Yushau Shuaib during a chat said the bodies have been deposited at the mortuary of the Lagos State University.
Also on Monday, the blackboxof the Craft has being recovered and handed over to the Accident and Investigation Bureau (AIB).
With the recovery of the black box, Emmanuel Diala , the leader of AIB stated that the “investigation to the ill-fated crash has just begun.”
The blackbox is expected to reveal the last conversations between the pilots before the eventual crash of the plane that crashed into residential buildings in the densely populated area.
The plane Dana Air Flight 0992 crashed into residential buildings in Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos state on Sunday.
It was revealed on Monday that five top officials of the National Universities Commission (NUC) were among the victims, according to the Executive Secretary of the commission, Professor Julius Okogie. He disclosed while receiving the Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Rufai at the commission’s office in Abuja on Monday.Prof Rufai was on a condolence visit to the commission.
The late officials include, the former Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology (FUTO) Owerri, Professor Celestine Onwuliri and four deputy directors who left Abuja for an official assignment in Lagos.
It had earlier been reported that the that the former NTA Sunday show host and Group General Manager, (Corporate Affairs of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, Levi Ajuonuma was among the passengers
However, the Nigerian Defence Headquarters has refuted reports that one of its senior officers, Major General Tahir Umar was involved in the Dana Air crash.
The defence headquarters in a statement confirmed that the officer is hale and hearty after he purchased the ticket for the ill-fated flight but could not make the journey.
General Tahir Umar’s name was listed on the Dana Air manifest .
Among the lucky ones also was a music star. Only few hours after the plane crash, , fast rising singer, Iyanya Mbuk posted on Twitter that he was supposed to be on the flight.
Iyanya, the first winner of the MTN Project fame, further tweeted, “When it’s not your time, It’s not yours. It took me 30 minutes to convince my manager that we should stay back in Abuja. God is great!!!”
However an official of Dana Airlines who does not want to be named confirmed to Channels Television that the ill-fated Dana Air flight 0992, MC Donnell Douglas (MD 83) was faulty shortly after it left Lagos and stopped over in Calabar.
She alleged that the Indian owners of the airline threw caution to the wind and insisted that the plane must fly in a bid to maximise profit, thereby sending the plane over to Abuja to pick passengers, when it should have being returned to Lagos for further repair.
She also claimed the flight has had persistent history of faults with its hydraulics in recent times and it was not supposed to have flown.
Dana Air Flight 0992 crashed into a two-storey building in Iju-Ishaga, a densely populated area in Lagos state, 4 nautical miles from reaching the runway of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, killing all 153 passengers on board. Residents of the building were also killed in the crash and explosion.
According to the LASEMA boss, four of the five residents that were rescued from buildings affected by the plane crash, that were taken to the hospital have being discharged and the remaining still receiving treatment.
Dr Ogusanyo, also alerted that buildings around the crash site are not safe for residence. He therefore announced that the governor of Lagos state, has instructed that residents whose houses were affected in the explosion that occurred on the crash site, will be relocated to the Agbowa Relief Camp in Ikorodu.
Agitated crowd in the area are having a tough time with security operatives on ground, as most of the people want to gain access to the crash site but they are denied access by the stern looking officers which is made up of the military, police force, Federal road safety and Civil defence corp.
The governors of Lagos and Ogun states, were early visitors to the crash site on Monday morning and the Ogun state governor, Ibikunle Amosun described the situation as “a big tragedy to the nation.
There was a commotion at the local wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos on Sunday evening, as members of the deceased families of the ill-fated Dana Air plane which crashed in Lagos killing all 153 passengers on board, arrived at the airport to confirm the death of their loved ones.
When the manifest was read, families cried uncontrollably as the security officials attempted to hold them back from venting their anger on Dana Air officials.
Speaking to news men at the Airport, Professor Peter Okebukola, immediate past Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission, NUC, who may have died in the plane if he had travelled as earlier scheduled confirmed the death of four staff of the commission who were on board.
According to him, “the plane that crashed was supposed to take me to Abuja before we heard the sad news. I am deeply sad.
This is a national disaster. As I speak to you now I can confirm to you that NUC lost four staff in the plane crash. The names are Mr Mamud Dokawa, Architect Chinwe Obi, Mrs Shuaibu and Professor Nwoleri, past Vice Chancellor, University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) and the leader of the NUC team.
Dana Air plane conveying passengers from Abuja to Lagos yesterday crashed into buildings around Iju-Ishaga, Agege area of Lagos state, killing all 153 passengers on board.