Plane sent distress message before crash –Minister

Plane sent distress message before crash –Minister

The Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah, on Sunday night confirmed that a Dana Airlines McDouglass 83 plane with 153 people on board had crashed around Iju IShaga area of Lagos state.

Oduah, who spoke at a press briefing at the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority headquarters, Murtala Muhammed Airport,Ikeja, Lagos, said no survivor had been found as at 9.20pm.

She said the ill-fated aircraft coming from Abuja had declared emergency with the Lagos control tower at 3.43pm.

A minute later, she said the aircraft disappeared from the control radar.

The minister, who shed tears as she spoke, said the aircraft was later found to have crashed into a residential building in Iju area of Lagos.

She said, “Today (Sunday, June 3, 2012) at about 3.43pm local time, Dana Air flight 0992 from Abuja to Lagos declared an emergency with the Lagos Control Tower at 11 nautical miles to Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos. A minute later, the aircraft was found to have crashed into residential buildings at Iju area of Agege with 153 people on board.

“The Police, National Emergency Management Agency, rescue teams from the airport, Lagos State, Ogun State and other agencies were at the crash site within minutes. At this time, no survivors have been found. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the passengers and the people on the ground who lost their lives in this tragedy.”

According to Oduah, the Federal Government will ensure that the accident is thoroughly investigated to determine the exact cause of the accident in order to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.

The minister however said rescue efforts were still ongoing at the crash site, adding that more rescue workers would be dispatched to the crash site to ensure that an effective rescue centre was established. She promised that government would establish contact with the families of the victims.

Meanwhile, when our correspondents visited the crash site, about five buildings around the affected building were found to have been severely damaged. Trees and electricity poles around the area were also severely damaged.

The number of casualties on ground could not be determined as at 9pm. Residents and eyewitnesses claimed some of the people living in the affected houses were killed in the accident.

At as 7.30pm when one of our correspondents left the crash site, none of the bodies of the victims had been recovered.

Officials at the crash site said the rescue efforts would take time as fire trucks, facilities and the personnel on ground were grossly inadequate for the exercise.

An official told our correspondent no meaningful rescue efforts could be made until the crashed aircraft, which nose had entered the ground, was pulled back.

Three weeks ago, a Dana Airlines plane coming from Uyo had declared emergency shortly before landing in Lagos. The aircraft landed safely, but was towed from the runway.


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