Crash: Nigeria morgue scene of sorrow

2012-06-05 14:36
Family members who lost relatives in a plane crash wait to identified their bodies at the Lagos state university teaching hospital in Lagos, Nigeria. (Sunday Alamba, AP)

Family members who lost relatives in a plane crash wait to identified their bodies at the Lagos state university teaching hospital in Lagos, Nigeria. (Sunday Alamba, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Lagos - Anxious families and diplomats crowded into a hospital in Lagos on Tuesday and tried to identify corpses from a plane crash that killed the 153 people aboard the airliner and an unknown number of others on the ground.

The stench of the dead carried outside the air-conditioned morgue. Guards parking cars outside wore surgical masks to block out the smell.

Professor David Oke, the chief medical director of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, told the dozens of families that the morgue had received about 40 bodies. He said among those already identified were the bodies of a Chinese citizen and a Canadian.

Outside the hospital, Ugonna Nwoka said his uncle had been aboard the Dana Air flight that went down in a congested neighbourhood on Sunday, turning much of it to rubble. Nwoka said he tried to go to the crash site on Monday but was pushed away by security forces.

"We stayed for hours trying to plead to see what happened," Nwoka said. Asked why he needed to see the crash site, Nwoka said if he didn't it would be "all like a dream, like a drama, like it's not real."

On Tuesday, he went to the hospital to see if his uncle's body was there. He had worked for the aviation ministry and needed to take a last-minute trip to Lagos, Nwoka said. The flight had originated on Abuja, the capital. About 10 US and Chinese diplomats also joined the families at the morgue.

Charred metal

By midday Tuesday, searchers with police dogs recovered 150 bodies, including those of a mother cradling an infant, according to Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency. It's not yet known how many people died on the ground. Emergency workers were still looking through the debris for bodies, and one damaged building seemed on the verge of collapse.

After the hospital's director spoke to families, Jennifer Enanana leaned against a car, quietly sobbing. She said her younger brother had been on board the flight. She said her other brother had died within the last year.

"We are without eyes," she said, her sobs growing louder. "We don't have anybody that will protect us that can stand like a man and defend us. Dana stole him."

The MD-83 plane went down in Lagos' Iju-Ishaga neighborhood, about 9km from Lagos' Murtala Muhammed International Airport. The crew radioed the tower that they had engine trouble shortly before the crash, but the exact cause remained unclear. The weather was clear at the time.

A torrential downpour and strong winds that flooded roads and downed power lines and trees prevented emergency crews from getting to the site early Tuesday morning, said Yushau Shuaib, a spokesman for Nigeria's National Emergency Management Agency. The rain had stopped by midday.

The scene is marked by charred metal from the plane, rubble from destroyed buildings, thick mud and standing water. A three-story apartment building at the site struck by the nose of the MD-83 aircraft began shaking Monday as rescuers dug through debris, and they are afraid it might collapse.

"It's going to be messy," Shuaib said.

Late on Monday, emergency workers recovered both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder, said Tunji Oketunbi, a spokesperson for the Accident Investigation Bureau, which probes airplane crashes in Nigeria.

Safe air travel

"We will take them abroad for decoding and that will help our analysis," Oketunbi said on Tuesday. "We will know what happened to the aircraft shortly before it crashed."

An investigator from the US National Transportation Safety Board also is expected to join Nigerian authorities on Tuesday to help them determine a cause for the crash, Oketunbi said.

President Goodluck Jonathan wept as he visited the crash site on Monday and pledged to make air travel safer, but the crash called into question the government's ability to protect its citizens and enforce regulations in a nation with a history of aviation disasters.

Some US citizens were aboard the flight, State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said, but he could not provide a firm number. A woman from West Hartford, Connecticut, her husband and four young children died on board the flight. The Tuesday edition of the Hartford Courant newspaper identified the family as Maimuna Anyene, her Nigerian husband Onyeke, and their children, a 5 month old, 1-year-old twins and a 3 year old.

The Houston Chronicle reported on Tuesday that the crash also killed Josephine and Jennifer Onita, sisters from Missouri City, Texas.

Others killed in the crash included at least four Chinese citizens, two Lebanese nationals and one French citizen, officials said.

- AP

Read more on:    dana air  |  goodluck jonathan  |  nigeria  |  west africa  |  air crashes  |  aviation
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Tuesday Mitchells Plain - 19:35 PM
    Road name: M7 Vanguard Drive
    ROADWORKS - traffic restrictions between the R300 and Highlands Drive - expect delays
  • Tuesday Belhar - 17:58 PM
    Road name: Belhar Drive
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Alabama Drive
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Apple iPad 3 Black 64GB 9.7" Tablet With WiFi & 4G

Retina Display Finally the incredible Retina display technology from the iPhone...

From R7999.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Something may come up to alert you of your security needs. It may be that you need to create a better structure for your finances...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.