As the country mourns the loss of innocent Nigerians and foreigners to this Sunday’s Dana Ari plane crash in Lagos, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) has stated that the sudden passing away of six of its members is shocking.
The five members involved in the crash were Mr. Awodogan Olusannmi (membership number: 25222), Mr. Komolafe Olugbenga (7388), Mrs. Ogechi Onyeagocha (6601), Mr. Peter Anosike (10880), Mr. Yusuf Ibrahim (4179), and a friend of ICAN, Mrs. Lillian Las.
According to the registrar/chief executive of ICAN, Mr. Olutoyin Adepate, the news of the involvement of five members of the institute in the plane crash was most distressing to everybody, “The news came to all of us as a shock, but the incident was beyond our control.
While we pray to God for the repose of the souls of those involved in the crash, we sympathise with their families and all Nigerians, also praying that God will grant them the fortitude to bear this great loss and the consequential pain, stem the tide of calamities and restore peace to our beloved land.”
Meanwhile, the 48th president of the institute, Mr. Doyin Owolabi, could not control his emotion on hearing the bad news of Lillian’s death in the crash and lamented the cruel fate that befell the gentle and hardworking lady.
He said: “It is indeed painful. I still remember her usual smiles as she attended to official duties without complaining. I remember her broad smiles of congratulations at my investiture on Wednesday. Oh death, where is your sting? It always hits us in the most unexpected way, but because we are children of the living God, it has no dominion over us. It is a debt to be paid by all, but, as humans, we pray for old age. May God continue to shine his light on her gentle soul and the souls of all the other departed faithful.”
Also reacting to the news, a council member of the institute, Mrs. Ngozi Monica Okonkwo, described Lilian as an amiable human being one could not resist and nobody would have imagined she would go so soon as she was full of life a few days ago when she came to Lagos for the investiture ceremony of the 48th ICAN president.
The deputy registrar (technical) of the Institute, Mr. Abel Asein, described the accident that killed her as avoidable. ‘‘We lost a gem and the face of ICAN in Abuja. What eulogy can I write on a dedicated colleague who died on active service?
With pains in my heart, I say, you did not deserve to die a violent, painful death. You were harmless, easygoing and always full of smiles, even in challenging times. You were always willing, at short notice, to take correspondence to various government departments with impressive feedback.”
Victim’s husband files lawsuit in US
David Chukwunonso Allison, husband of a Nigerian woman who died during the Dana Air plane crash in Lagos has filed a lawsuit in a United States (US) court and blamed those who designed and manufactured the plane for the crash, the Associated Press (AP) reports.
Allison’s wife, Joy Chiedozie Allison, was one of 153 victims that died in the Dana Air MD-83 that crashed in Lagos on Sunday.
Lawyer to the plaintiff, Mr. Gary Robb, filed the suit yesterday at a federal court in Chicago.
The plaintiff also named the Chicago-based Boeing Co., which bought the McDonnell-Douglas manufacturer of the plane and Connecticut-based engine-maker Pratt & Whitney as co-defendants to the suit.
US loses 8 citizens
A cleric who lost two daughters during the crash has disclosed that eight United States (US) citizens died during the crash.
Mr. Solomon Onita, told LEADERSHIP that this is the most traumatic period in his life.
He said: “How can this happen to me, that a Pastor serving God would suffer this kind of fate, losing 2 full grown daughters in one day just like that, I feel exactly how JOB in the Bible felt.” Onita, who disclosed that he reliably learnt that eight US-based citizens died in that ill-fated air crash, pointed out that he flew in from USA on Monday to see the remains of his daughters whom he called “angels”.
According to Pastor Onita, spoke with LEADERSHIP at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) where he came to identify the corpses of his two daughters , Josephine Onita and Jennifer Onita of Missouri City, Texas, who were killed in the crash as they came to attend a wedding in Lagos.
Josephine and Jennifer Onita were the daughters of Pastor Solomon and Lola Onita, pastors at a Missouri City congregation of the Nigerian-based Redeemed Christian Church of God.
“Josephine always made people laugh and Jennifer is ever so sweet . They were angels,’’ the father lamented.
LEADERSHIP learnt that according to Dana Air officials’ disclosure, the pilot was a U.S. citizen. Also on board the plane were seven other U.S. citizens (the late Onita daughters included).
The father disclosed that Jennifer Onita, 28, was a Bio-Medical Engineering student at the University of Houston Graduate School. “Jennifer was an accomplished Engineer with concentrations in both Aeronautics and Defense.”
“And my other daughter Josephine, 23, was an accomplished accountancy manager for the family business.”
Pastor Onita lamented that he learnt the American pilot of the ill-fated plane sent a radio message that the plane was having trouble minutes before it crashlanded and he had declared an emergency as the plane approached the Murtala Muhammed International Airport; so why was this crash not averted?” he asked.
Dana Air’s director of operations, Oscar Wason, identified the American pilot as Mr Peter Waxtan and that he was a veteran of the Miramar-based Spirit Airlines from 1997 to 2009.
Also spokesperson of Spirit Airlines from their website said: “All of us at Spirit are very saddened by this tragedy and extend our heartfelt condolences to all of Peter Waxtan’s loved ones and the other family and friends of everyone on the flight.”
Also on board was another US Citizen , a woman from West Hartford, Connecticut, her husband and four young children died in the crash.
The late woman whose name is Maimuna Anyene was flying with her Nigerian husband Onyeke, and their children: five-month old Noah, 1-year-old twins Kaiyen and Kaima, and 3-year-old Kamsi. They all perished together with the pilot in the ill-fated plane.
Bird carcasses found in engines
Meanwhile, speaking officially for the first time yesterday, Dana Air’s director of flight operations, Captain Oscar Wason, suggested that a “bird strike” may have caused the crash.
Thus adding a new twist to the crash theories, Wason, who appeared on a TV programme in Lagos, yesterday, said the management of the grounded airline found remnants of birds in one of the engines of the crashed plane.
According to him, “I don’t know what could have been responsible for the crash, but this morning we found remnants of birds in one of the engines.”
He noted that birds flying into plane engines were a major source of problem in Nigeria, as they (several airlines) had experienced such many times. “We have bird strikes and it might have been that a mass of birds went through the engine and caused it to lose power,” Wason stated.
A top aviation source who works as an air traffic controller (ATC) told LEADERSHIP that, shortly before the plane crashed, its first engine failed. This, he said, made the pilots cut down on speed to enable the flight land safely on the longer and better runway in Lagos, an action that made the flight experience a 20-minute delay before crashing at 3:43p.m.
The flight, according to the ATC, was scheduled to land at 3:21p.m.
Continuing, the ATC confirmed that the plane most likely suffered its first failed engine long before the pilot declared an emergency. He further disclosed that the pilot had requested to land on Murtala Muhammad Airport’s longer runway 18R before calling air controllers back a few minutes later to declare “a total emergency”.
According to the air traffic controller, he stressed that he and his colleagues on duty reasoned that “the second and last emergency call was made most probably when the second engine failed,” because the aircraft crashed about seven nautical miles from the local airport.
LEADERSHIP investigations further underscored the already touted revelation that the operators of the ill-fated Dana aircraft knew of its mechanical troubles, as our ATC source disclosed that the jet conducted a short flight test between the Lagos and Ibadan airport on Saturday, apparently to prove to regulators that the jet was “airworthy”.
Several employees of Dana Air have publicly maintained that the owners were aware as early as Sunday that the jet had mechanical troubles, as it had struggled on a flight to Calabar, but, in spite of this, the operators still forced the crew to fly it, obviously with an eye on maximising profit.
Residents at the Lagos crash site have also confirmed that they watched as the pilot struggled to give the aircraft a final thrust of flight power before the crash, which killed all on board and residents on the ground.
38 persons displaced
The Lagos State government has said that six people seemed to be missing from the buildings where the ill-fated Dana airline crashed in on Sunday in Iju-Ishaga axis of the state, while 38 others have been displaced from their resideces.
The general manager/CEO, Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), Dr. Olufemi Oke-Osanyintolu, who disclosed this to newsmen on Thursday, added that of the five casualties affected on ground by the crash, four have been discharged while one is still on admission.
The LASEMA boss who reiterated government’s commitment to address the sufferings of the victims’ families, remarked that necessary support would be given by the government to alleviate the suffering, trauma and destruction caused by any form of disaster in the state.
Oke-Osanyintolu, who led the state government emergency respond team to assist in the rescue and evacuation at the crash scene, said the ill-fated Dana Air plane Boeing McDonnell Douglas (MD-83) with registration number 5N-RAM crashed into five houses, leaving three houses severely affected on Akande Street, Iju-Ishaga, in Ifako-Ijaye local government area of the state.
He said the state governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has directed that a camp be opened to accommodate all the internally displaced persons.
According him, “The camp has since been opened at Ipaja areas of the state for all the displaced persons.”
He added that some of the internally displaced persons who were said to have been traumatized and devastated by disaster were given counselling at the camp in order to stabilise them properly pending a permanent solution to their plight.