Lagos Crash: Another Survivor Dies

One of the six remaining survivors of the Associated Airlines plane crash in Lagos on Thursday died Saturday, despite concerted efforts to save his life.
The death of the man, who was identified as Samson Hassan, has increased the total death toll from the plane crash to 15, with five survivors still battling for their lives.
The plane with 20 passengers on board was conveying the remains of former Ondo State governor Olusegun Agagu to his state for burial when it crashed few minutes after take-off in Lagos.
Hassan had along with another survivor, Taiwo Akintunde, been kept under close watch at the highly sterilised Intensive Care Unit of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja.
Checks had on Friday revealed that both men were hooked up to sophisticated electronic monitors to help check their blood pressures and general health conditions.
The doctors and nurses at their beck and call at the unit battled to save his life, but their efforts were unsuccessful.
It was yet uncertain as at press time if the deceased’s relatives had been alerted by the hospital authorities, although, sources who visited the Lekan Ogunsola Memorial Home of LASUTH witnessed medical personnel discussing the incident in hushed tones.
One of the personnel who spoke on conditions of anonymity said the medical doctors on duty really tried their best to prevent a relapse but the degree of injury sustained by the deceased reduced his chances of recovery. His death was later confirmed by a release said to have emanated from one Mrs Bolanle Okusanya- Feyita, who spoke on behalf of the Magbamawo Industrial Company (MIC) Royal Ltd, where Hassan was a member of staff.
The company, one of the popular funeral undertaking outfits in the country, lost its Chief Executive Mr Olatunji  Okusanya, his son, Mr Olatunji Okusanya Jnr and  four members of staff- Mr Akeem Akintunde, Mr Chijioke Duru, Mr Kingsley Amaechi and now Hassan, in the crash.
The only female survivor at LASUTH, Toyin Samson, who  was at the Recuperating Ward of the Surgical Emergency ward was still stable, same as the duo of Feyi Agagu and Femi Akinsanya, who were at the BT unit.
Also Saturday, the Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) test process finally kicked off after the families of the deceased persons stormed the morgue for the test.
The process which kicked off after the families were delayed for hours, was witnessed by officials of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Lagos State Commissioner for Special Duties, Dr. Wale Ahmed.
Although the Deputy General Manager (Aeromedicals), Dr. Wilfred Haggai, declined to comment on the state of the survivors and the DNA process, it was gathered that the results would be out within the next one month.
In the meantime, the Director General of NCAA, Fola Akinkuotu, has confirmed that the operations of Associated Airlines have been grounded.
Also, a Kabo plane, a Boeing B747-3 aircraft with registration number 5N-JRM and over 512 passengers on board en route Saudi Arabia, was reported to have skidded off the runway in Sokoto when its tyres burst as it was landing. The passengers, according to the report, were evacuated and lodged in a hotel where they waited for another aircraft.
But the management of Kabo Airlines denied that its Saudi Arabia-bound aircraft was involved in a landing mishap. “No one was hurt, we were not involved in air mishap and it was just a speculation aimed to tarnish our image and God willing they will not succeed at all,” said the airline’s spokesman, Malam Aminu Hamza. “Our aircraft did not have any air mishap but what actually happened was that it had a rear tyre problem at the point of landing at Sokoto where it intended to pick passengers bound to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.”
A statement signed by the General Manager, Corporate Communications of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Yakubu Dati, had confirmed that a Boeing 747-3 aircraft, operated by Kabo Airlines arrived safely with all passengers and crew on board, following a landing incident at the Sokoto Airport at 2100 GMT. “The aircraft which departed from Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano was en route Saudi Arabia when it had a stop-over at the Sokoto airport for passenger pickup,” the statement said.
The NCAA Director General, who just returned from an overseas trip on Friday, a day after the accident happened, visited the survivors of the crash yesterday at LASUTH where he announced the suspension of the Associated Airlines operations.
“Operations of Associated Airlines have been suspended by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority,” Akinkuotu, who is a pilot and an engineer, said. “And let me say it again for the purpose of clarity, I said all the operations of Associated Airlines have been suspended by NCAA. I say all operations; I did not say the certification, all operations of the airlines have been suspended.”
On the airworthiness of the aircraft and the genuineness of its insurance, the director general said that according to the documentations available to the NCAA, the aircraft was deemed worthy and had an insurance document that made it airworthy to fly, adding that the airline has engineers that were certified by the regulatory body.
He also said NCAA was satisfied with the aircraft and that was why the authority gave it an airworthiness certification. “The continued airworthiness certification of an airplane is largely the responsibility of the operator,” he added. “There are certified engineers there who are licensed and certified by NCAA who did sign the aircraft was air worthy; the pilot has the responsibility (to confirm) that the aircraft was air worthy and he accepted to fly it; so to that extent the NCAA cannot say anything to the contrary as we speak.”
While the director general was leaving the hospital, he was met by the son of the pilot of the ill-fated flight, Babatunde Yakubu. A tearful Yakubu said that his late father would never have flown an aircraft that was faulty.
The bereaved young man disclosed that his father was a careful pilot who would rather disagree with the airline’s management than fly such a bad aircraft.
Consoling him, Akinkuotu recalled how close he used to be with the deceased, saying that he had hired him when he was head of flight operations in one of the airlines that had gone under.
The director general also expressed satisfaction that many of the survivors of the crashed aircraft were responding to treatment and thanked the doctors and nurses attending to them.
In a related development, an Arik Air flight WS 584 from Abuja to Benin made air return as precautionary safety measure, and later was said to have operated the flight after a minor error was rectified.