Monday, July 30, 2012

Dana Air McDonnell Douglas MD-83, 5N-RAM, Flight 9J-992: Lawyer blame high casualty on poor crowd management - Lagos, Nigeria


A legal Practitioner, Adewale Adeniyi, on Monday told Coroner Magistrate Oyetade Komolafe inquiring into the cause of death of the victims of the 3 June crash of a Dana Air plane in Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos state, that there was poor management of the crowd at the crash site.

Mr Adeniyi, while responding to questions from other lawyers at the sitting, said he was related to a member of the cabin crew, Vivien Oshinuga who died in the crash.

He said he got to the site around 4.30pm after the husband of the deceased alerted him from London, urging him to rush to the site to see if there was anything he could do to save the deceased.

In his testimony, Mr Adeniyi said, “The crowd at the site was not well managed. There was stampede. People were running helter skelter. A helicopter was hovering over us. The soldiers were beating us with horse whip when the helicopter wanted to land.

“The crowd was not well managed by the agencies at the site. The crowd was too enormous for the agencies on the ground to handle.”

The lawyer, who said the post-crash inferno was still burning as at the time he left the site at 6pm, listed the agencies he met at the site to include the Federal Fire Services attached to the airport, the Nigerian Army, the Police, Julius Berger Construction Company and Red Cross.

The Counsel representing the Lagos State Ministry of Justice at the sitting, Adetunji Bakare, however blamed Mr Adeniyi for being part of the crowd which obstructed rescue operations.

Though Mr Adeniyi disagreed that the crowd obstructed rescue operations, he conceded that, due to the circumstances at the crash site, there was not much he or any other persons in the crowd could do to rescue any of the victims.

“What you should have done is to leave the scene when you could not help,” Mr Bakare said.

But Mr Adeniyi responded, saying the crowd did not obstruct rescue operations but rather “assisted in quenching the fire.”

He admitted that the crowd was using the equipment provided by the fire services and Julius Berger whose vehicles were prevented from reaching the point of the post-crash inferno.

Meanwhile, three television stations, the African Independent Television (AIT), Channels Television and the Television Continental (TVC), summoned by the Coroner were unable to bring the needed equipment to show the video clips they recorded at the crash site.

The video clips of the television stations which were said to have conducted a thorough coverage of rescue operations are to give insight into the post-crash activities at the site.

They were then slated to appear on Wednesday with their reporters who recorded the video clip. They were also asked to come to the sitting with a copy of the VCD which will be kept in the custody of the court.

Dana Air and the Accident Investigation Bureau have been slated to give their testimonies on Thursday.

The Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Airforce were asked to appear before the court on the 9th of August.

The Coroner has adjourned sitting till Tuesday when the National Aviation Management Authority, the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency and the MRS Oil Nigeria are expected to testify. 


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