Thursday, August 09, 2012

Crew’s negligence caused plane crash - Witness: Dana Air, McDonnell Douglas MD-83, 5N-RAM, Lagos-Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Nigeria


A witness in the on going inquest into the death of the 153 passengers on the Dana Air plane that crashed in Iju/Ishaga area of Lagos on June 3, Tito Omaghomi, a retired flight captain, on Thursday, told the coroner, Mr Alexander Komolafe, that negligence of  the flight crew led to the tragedy.

At the resumed hearing of the inquest before a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja, Omaghomi, who had over 32 years experience as a pilot with the Nigerian Airways, said his opinion of the preliminary report of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) was that the pilot and his crew neglected to keep to necessary checklists to prevent fatalities.

Omaghomi, who was led by Femi Falana, said his view of the AIB’s report was that “it was a disorganized cockpit” and that “it became a flight that nobody had control of.”

The retired captain also said from his deductions, the pilot did not call for help when he should have done, adding that he called when the plane had already lost two engines.

He stated further that the pilot flew for more than 100 hours in a month, adding that from observations, the pilot of the ill-fated plane had put in 120 hours of flight within 13 days, which, according to him, was illegal.

Tito said it was a bad development that between 1965 and 2003, only 17 air accidents occurred, adding that from 2003 till date, there had been about 21 air crashes.

Another witness, Daniel Akpokoje, an aviation operations manager with Total Nigeria Plc, had earlier testified that the last time Dana Air bought fuel from the company was in November 2011.

According to him, before fuel was supplied to an aircraft, several checks were made to ensure that there were no sediments or water mixed with it.

The magistrate consequently adjourned the inquest till August 13.

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