Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Dana crash: 141 bodies released, says LASUTH CMD

About 141 out of 153 bodies of victims of June 3 Dana air crash at Iju-Ishaga, Lagos have so far been released, the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Prof Wale Oke, has said.

He said they were released last Wednesday after DNA test, leaving nine other bodies unclaimed. One hundred and fifty of the bodies were deposited at LASUTH’s morgue.

Oke said the hospital has also issued death certificates to 89 families.

As at August 8, last year, 107 bodies had been released by the hospital.

He said statistics showed that the hospital recorded 94 per cent success handling the crash fall-out, praising Governor Babatunde Fashola for making this possible.

The governor, he said, ensured that the accident was better managed than others in the past before the victims were buried.

“The governor expressed satisfaction with the management of the accident that he sought the decision of the families on the next step since the body identification and DNA have been completed, and assured them that the state was ready to have a cenotaph at the site of the accident in honour of the deceased, if the families gave their approval,” he said.

On state of the teaching hospital, Oke said its Maternal Centre known as Ayinke House is still under reconstruction, adding that it would be opened to the public by the end of May.

“Also, the laboratory is being refurbished and it will be equipped with polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which is a DNA copying machine, among other pressing diagnostic equipment,” he added.

Oke said the hospital is operating a-three level care of health care – primary, secondary and tertiary at the same time, adding that it was established to perform research, training and clinical services.

But because it was a general hospital before its upgrade, patients still come for treatment even for the slightest headache, Oke added.

He said the hospital’s oxygen plant, which started operation of recent, has been supplying LASUTH and other hospitals in the oxygen, which he put at 98 per cent purity.

Tuesday 1 January 2013


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4 drown in Chandpur boat capsize

At least four people drowned and two went missing after a sand-laden boat capsized the river Meghna in Chandpur on Tuesday.

Police said four bodies were found at the boat after the divers salvaged it around 8:30pm after a hectic effort.

Three of the deceased aged between 15 and 20 were named as Zia, Shohag and Biddut, reports our Chandpur correspondent.

Mahbub Morshed, officer in-charge of Chandpur Model Police Station, confirmed the incident, told The Daily Star they were yet to trace the two others.

Asadullah, one of the a passengers of the boat, said the six people went missing after the boat APS-2 sank in the river with 50 passengers on board after hitting a jetty at Harina Ferry Terminal due to poor visibility caused by dense fog.

The other passengers swam ashore, he said.

The boat was heading for Dhaka from Shariatpur.

At least 10 passengers who swam to safety were injured during the incident.

Of them, Abdul Kuddus, 35, and Ratan, 28, were admitted to Chandpur Sadar Hospital in critical conditions.

Ferry services on Chandpur-Shariatpur remain suspended following the incident.

Tuesday 1 January 2013


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Oregon tour bus crash: Authorities struggle to identify foreign citizens involved

Berlyn Sanderson and Jaemin Seo, might easily have died in Sunday's crash of a charter bus that killed 9 people when it skidded off Interstate 84 east of Pendleton and rolled 200 feet down a mountain canyon.

Sanderson, 22, of Vancouver, B.C., and Seo, 23, of South Korea, were ejected as the bus rolled down the steep mountainside in Deadman Pass in the Blue Mountains.

"It was like one of those dreams that the world was coming to an end," recalled Sanderson, who needed 12 stitches to close a cut on her thigh, and suffered a lacerated ear.

"I'm OK, I'm alive," said Seo, a South Korean exchange student who was asleep when the bus hit a patch of ice, slammed into the median and a guard-rail and began rolling down the mountain. "Many people screamed, and I woke up."

It was the most terrifying awakening of his life, he said, and he remembers sailing through a broken bus window as if flying. He escaped with a broken right leg and a sprained right arm.

"I wanted to climb up to the road, but I couldn't walk," he said.

As survivors reflected on the weekend tragedy Monday, authorities continued to piece together the identities of the dead and the living, many of them foreign citizens. The effort was complicated because many passengers had been separated from their passports, survivors were taken to no fewer than 10 hospitals in three states and some spoke limited English.

Oregon State Police Lt. Gregg Hastings, at a news conference in Pendleton Monday said 39 people were taken to area hospitals for treatment. Ten were treated and released, and 29 remained hospitalized.

Hastings declined to disclose names of the nine passengers who died, pending positive identification and notification of families. All those who died were adults, a mix of men and women, he said.

The Korean consul in Vancouver, B.C., Choi Yeonghan, said three or four travel agencies were involved in organizing the trip.

Choi said all but three or four of the passengers on the bus were Koreans living in Canada or the United States. They were on a nine-day trip to Las Vegas, where they stayed for two days. The travelers stopped overnight near Boise before traveling through Oregon on their way back home.

The bus passengers ranged in age from 7-year-old Jimin Kim, to 73-year-old Yii Yeon Cho,. Many were exchange students from Korea, Taiwan and Japan. A total of 49 people were on board, Hastings said.

Word of the crash reached authorities around 10:09 a.m. Sunday.

The passengers describe a level of chaos they'd never before experienced, and were unprepared for.

"People screamed," said Seo, who admits, "I was very scared. Some mothers screamed to find their son or daughter. And they screamed to call 9-1-1 firefighters."

The 9-1-1 dispatch center in Pendleton received 12 calls in the moments after the crash, most from motorists passing by. But some were from bus passengers who spoke little English, said a spokeswoman for the Umatilla County 9-1-1 system.

Survivors told of people being pinned in their seats inside the broken charter bus, and the bodies of the dead lying in the snow after the vehicle came to rest on its wheels. The injured spoke of some passengers knocked unconscious and others with broken legs and arms. The survivors described being hit by rocks as the bus rolled down the rugged mountainside.

"So many dead people and injured people," mourned a Korean teen-ager, age 16. "I felt so scared."

Officials with the Red Cross, which was caring for the boy and other underage crash victims, asked that they not be named because their parents could not be reached to give permission.

Two Korean teens, ages 17 and 16, found humor in their own survival after being released from St. Anthony Hospital in Pendleton. Standing together in at the Convention Center shelter beside the Pendleton Round-Up rodeo grounds, they talked of their injuries.

The 17-year-old had a broken collarbone, and his arm was in a sling.

His 16-year-old friend had only minor injuries. "I'm fine," he said in broken English.

The 17-year-old, with a glimmer of a smile, looked at him and said, "It's unfair."

One passenger said he and others thought the driver was going too fast on the icy highway.

"I felt like he was going too fast," said Yoo Byung Woo, 25, a South Korean exchange student at Skagit Valley College in Mt. Vernon, Wash. "I worried about the bus."

Yoo said one of the riders was frightened and asked the guide if they could take another route.

No one could be reached for comment at Mi Joo Tour & Travel in Vancouver, B.C., which owns the bus.

Hastings, of the state police, said an investigation may not be completed for four weeks, possibly longer.

Tom Strandberg, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation, said the accident happened on a straight stretch at the top of Cabbage Hill on Deadman Pass in the Blue Mountains. The pass gets its name from the Bannock War in 1878 when four teamsters and another man were killed by Native Americans.

Oregon State Police investigators will look into the possibily that bus driver Haeng Kyu Hwang, 54, of Vancouver, B.C., was driving too fast for the slippery conditions on the notorious mountain pass, Hastings said. Investigators also will determine if driver fatigue was a factor, he said.

The first rescue workers on the scene came from the Umatilla Indian Reservation, followed by Oregon State Police and Pendleton firefighters.

"We were somewhat overwhelmed," said Pendleton Fire Chief Gary Woodson. "It was certainly a challenging scene."

It was difficult getting rescuers down to the bus, and more difficult bringing the injured back up to Interstate 84, he said. Rescue workers, four to six at a time, carried the injured up the steep slope on backboards, and used rappelling lines and baskets to bring people up to ambulances, he said.

St. Anthony Hospital, meanwhile, went into a "Code D" for disaster mode, and called all available people in to help care for the injured, said Larry Blanc, hospital spokesman. It went surprisingly well, largely because the hospital staff practices regularly for such emergencies, he said.

Passengers who weren't badly hurt, pitched in.

"I saw many people crying and screaming, so I helped them," said Yoo, the passenger who thought the bus was moving too fast.

Yoo has had time to reflect since the accident, he said. "I will never go on bus trip," he declared.

Tuesday 1 January 2013


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Scores killed in Ivory Coast fireworks stampede

About 60 people have been crushed to death in a stampede outside a stadium in Ivory Coast's main city of Abidjan after a New Year's Eve fireworks display.

The incident took place near Félix Houphouët-Boigny stadium where a crowd had gathered to watch fireworks, emergency officials said.

One of the injured, speaking to Reuters at a hospital, said security forces had arrived to break up the crowd, triggering a panic in which many people fell over and were trampled.

"The provisional death toll is 60 and there are 49 injured," the interior minister, Hamed Bakayoko, said in a statement on national television.

President Alassane Ouattara, visiting injured people at the hospital, called the incident a national tragedy and said an investigation was under way to determine what had happened.

A Reuters correspondent said bloodstains and abandoned shoes littered the scene outside the stadium on Tuesday morning.

The incident was the worst of its kind in Abidjan since 2010, when a stampede at a stadium during a football match killed 18 people.

Ivory Coast, once a stable economic hub for west Africa, is struggling to recover from a 2011 civil war in which more than 3,000 people were killed.

Tuesday 1 January 2013


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