Death Toll In Lagos Plane Crash Reached 17 As The Rescue Operation Ended
The number of people killed in a plane crash in Lagos has increased up to 17, two children among them. The plane carrying 27 people and conveying the body of the former Ondo State governor, Olusegun Agagu, crashed this morning at the Murtala Muhammed airport in Lagos immediately after take-off.
By now the rescue operation has ended. Agagu’s body recovered.
The charter flight took off at about 09:30 from the domestic terminal at Lagos Murtala Mohammed International Airport.
Officials said the plane crashed on to open land within the airport complex close to a fuel storage a minute after take-off.
Spokesman for the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Supo Atobatele, added that the engine of the jet had failed on takeoff and it crash-landed and burst into flames.
Aviation Ministry spokesman, Joe Obi, added that the plane nose-dived into a building in the area: “The plane couldn’t lift properly so it just came down.”
Spokesperson of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, Yakubu Datti, told Al Jazeera that there are five survivors. They have been rushed to a nearby hospital, he added.
Datti confirmed that the Black Box of the aircraft have been recovered and investigation will commence immediately.
One of the eyewitnesses, Ahmad Safian, told the BBC: “I heard a loud bang and then there was lots of black smoke. The security forces rushed straight to the scene. I saw three bodies removed from the wreckage.”
He also said the road to the airport was blocked for a short time but operations were continuing as normal at the airport.
The passengers, perished and survived…
An Associated Airline jet was carrying seven crew and 20 passengers heading to Akure, Ondo state for the burial of former Ondo State governor, Olusegun Agagu, who passed away September 13, 2013.
Agagu’s family members and Ondo state officials were in the plane. Two of Agagu’s children, a son and a daughter, did not survive. However, ex-governor’s wife was not in the plane crash; she and Agagu’s brother, Femi, arrived Akure earlier in a separate flight.
On board the ill-fated aircraft were also Agagu’s only son, Feyi, the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr Deji Falae and a staff in the Protocol Department of the Governor’s office, Mr Layi Daji. Also on board were MrTunji Okusanja Jr and his father, Tunji Okusanja.
However, while Okusanja senior is said to have sustained injuries and unconscious, his son is believed to have been among those who died. The Okusanja family owns the MIC Caskets, a popular funeral undertakers in Lagos Island. An employee of MIC Caskets, identified as Chijioke, was also among the perished.
The management of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) has released the names of some survivors and dead persons:
1. Agagu Feyi – Survivor
2. Akintunde Taiwo – Survivor
3. Akintunde Akeem – Survivor
4. Akinsanya Femi – Survivor
5. Unknown male – Survivor
6. Chijioke Duru – Dead
7. Unknown male adult – Dead
The jet was also conveying the corpse of Agagu. The casket carrying his corpse was found intact in the rubble of plane. However, it failed to open after all efforts by the rescue teams. It has now been moved to the Air Force Base close to the airport.
While the plane was about to leave the Lagos airport, Ondo State government officials, including Governor Olusegun Mimiko, as well as other members of Agagu’s family gathered at the Akure airport waiting for the corpse of the former governor. They have moved to the Ondo government house after hearing of the tragedy.
It will be recalled, that the ex-governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Agagu, passed away at his Ibadan residence in Oyo State around 6 pm on September 13, 2013. The burial of the ex-governor were to take place tomorrow, October 4.
Ondo State Government calls the crash ‘shocking’
The Ondo State Government has reacted on the tragedy, describing it as shocking.
A statement issued on Thursday in Akure by Mr Eni Akinsola, Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Olusegun Mimiko said:
“No doubt, this is an unfortunate disaster in the life of our dear state. We can only pray that God will visit the state with mercy and give us all the strength to bear these unfortunate losses.
“We ask all residents to be in a sober and prayerful mood at these trying times, as God is indeed the only person we should call upon in this period,” Akinsola said.
The Ondo government assured in its statement that further and better information will be released on the crash as soon as they are available.