Monday, 7 October 2013

Lagos plane crash: DNA results expected within three weeks, death toll rises to 15

Families of the victims of last Thursday's plane crash may have to still wait a little longer to recover the bodies of their loved ones that perished in the mishap going by indications on Sunday.

Reason: The Lagos State Government will only allow that when it shall have successfully conducted full forensic examinations, including deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) tests on the corpses expected to last for the next three weeks. Though the exercise had begun since Saturday.

The DNA test and mapping billed for the United Kingdom, are to facilitate proper identification of the charred bodies before burial.

Speaking on Sunday in Lagos, the Commissioner for Special Duties, Wale Ahmed, said collection of DNA samples from two family members of each victim, is to help experts identify the bodies and ensure orderly receipts.

The commissioner, who was addressing expectant relatives, said the United Kingdom laboratories contracted to handle the DNA examination had promised to make results available in three to four weeks at the receipt of the samples.

Ahmed noted that the whole process was being accelerated so the families could in good time perform obsequies for the departed souls.

"The process is to help us give right corpse to the right family," he said.

It would be recalled that similar delay was experienced in the wake of the June 3, 2012 Dana Air plane crash in Iju, Lagos, where several families of about 158 victims could not claim their bodies until after six weeks that their DNA testing lasted.

Ahmed, however, commiserated with the families on behalf of the state governor and Lagosians, adding that the government would do whatever it could to assist in the burial.

The death of Samson Hassan, one of the survivors of the Associated Airlines plane that crashed in Lagos Saturday night, indicates that the death toll in the crash has risen to 15 victims.

He added that the government had gotten the right copy of the flight manifest from the National Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), adding that the state's Office of Public Defender (OPD) is available to help those who might need its services.

Ahmed said: "We have been having meeting with the airline, NCAA, the insurance and other agencies to ensure the success of the exercise.

Meanwhile, makers of the ill-fated aircraft, Embraer Company, have indicated interest in being part of the inquiry to unravel the cause of the accident.

Also to join in the probe is the operator of the airplane, Associated Airlines. Although, the AIB said it is not obliged to include the airline.

The Commissioner, Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), Captain Usman Muktar, on Sunday gave the hint, noting that the Bureau had commenced inquiry into the Embraer 120 ER aircraft marked 5N-BJY belonging to Associated Aviation Limited, which crash-landed at the Joint Users Hydrants installation at the Lagos airport.

Meanwhile, the Accident Investigation and Prevention Bureau(AIB) said it has commenced the readout of data from the Flight Data Recorder ( FDR)otherwise referred to as Black Box recovered from the Embraer 120 ER aircraft belonging to Associated Airlines that crashed in Lagos on Thursday morning.

AIB Commissioner Captain Muktar Usman, who disclosed this in a statement yesterday, said the analysis of data from the FDR was being carried out at AIB’s laboratory in Abuja.

He also confirmed that one of the seven survivors had died on Saturday without disclosing the identity of the latest casualty in the aircraft accident.

He said, “Flight recorders of the ill-fated aircraft have been recovered and will be downloaded at the Bureau’s newly installed flight laboratory at its Abuja headquarters. The readout of the recorders has commenced. The aircraft, which crashed less than three minutes after take-off from Runway 18L of the airport, had 20 souls on board, including seven of the airline’s crew. There were six survivors as at 05 October, 2013.”

He said investigation continues into the crash of Embraer 120 ER aircraft marked 5N-BJY belonging to Associated Aviation Limited, which occurred at the Joint Users Hydrants installation at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos at 9:30hrs (local Time) on Thursday 03 October, 2013.

Associated Aviation Limited is a Nigerian registered domestic airline, which operates chartered and scheduled flights in the country.

Aircraft accident investigation investigators taking the recorders to a laboratory where “they can download the data from the recorders and attempt to recreate the events of the accident”. Often, black-box manufacturers supply the readout systems and software needed to do a full analysis of the recorders’ stored data.

Monday 7 October 2013


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