By Yinka Aderibigbe
Six die on ground
Rescuers have called it a day after the recovery of 153 bodies and two bag loads of human parts on the site of last Sunday’s plane crash.
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) yesterday drew the curtain on the first phase of the search and rescue operation at house 12, Olaniyi Street, Iju-Ishaga on the outskirts of Lagos into which Dana Air flight 9J-922 crashed .
Head of NEMA operations Air Commodore Yomi Bankole said what remains is the pulling down of the property and the fumigation of the entire environment to stave off any outbreak of epidemic.
The Director of Search and Rescue at NEMA said since the evacuation had been 95 per cent completed, the national agency would be handing over to the state emergency agency, which will coordinate other agencies to ensure that the place is safe for habitation.
He praised officials of Julius Berger for “the great job” done in ensuring that the controlled demolition meets international standards.
Bankole said the site would be handed over to the state government, which is expected to make it available to the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), and other agencies that may still need to visit in the course of their investigation.
He said: “Since Sunday, we have been basically handling recovery and we have not been able to rescue anyone alive from the aircraft. On ground, six people have been confirmed affected by the crash, and others who were displaced have been handed over to the state government, which has evacuated them to a safer place where they could stabilise and overcome the trauma. With these done, I can confirm to you that we are going to close down this operation later today (yesterday). We would be shifting to the next phase, which would be identification formalities, which is where more technical expertise would be needed.”Commodore Bankole said besides the initial challenge of crowd control when the incident happened, the rescue operation had been going on seamlessly. He said the military was drafted in at some point to help secure the place and prevent further contamination of the immediate crash environment.
NEMA spokesman Mr Ibrahim Farinloye said of the 153 bodies recovered, 149 were intact, 49 could be readily identified and others have to be identified by DNA at the General Hospital.Farinloye said: “As at Monday, 86 of the total bodies recovered were male, 49, female and 11 children, and one could not be identified. Today, (yesterday), six more bodies were recovered. Out of these, 40 bodies could be facially recognised, and these would be immediately handed over to their families, once all formalities have been completed to ensure that they were given decent burial.”Farinloye said the DNA tests would begin immediately. This, according to him, will take three phases: One is the identification of the victims, either by their personal effects or clothes they had on or jewelry, or any other physical peculiarities. Others who could still not be so identified may require their family members coming with one of their clothes or any other personal effects for DNA analysis to determine and separate them.
These would be carried out by the government in conjunction with technical partners who are expected in the country in the next few days.Personal effects, such as hand luggage, bags, jewelry, ID cards, cash in foreign and local currencies recovered have been handed over to the AIB for onward delivery to relatives of the victim.Farinloye who ruled out mass burial for the victims said with advanced technology, all the dead would be identified.
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