It was a black Sunday afternoon in Iju-Ishaga, a sprawling suburb of Lagos state, today when a Dana Air flight 9J-997 from Abuja to Lagos with barely three minutes to landing crashed at about 3pm. All 153 passengers aboard the flight, including six infants and six children, were all burnt to death.
The aircraft, a McDouglas 83 model, with registration number 5N-RAN, belonging to Dana Airline, crashed into a building before going up in flames. Six people were said to have died in the residential building at the time TELL left the scene of the crash. Electric poles and wires where destroyed, while a book warehouse, and a church building were damaged by the aircraft before finally hitting the two-storey building and bursting into flames.
According to Emeka Okafor, an eye witness at the scene of the accident, he noticed the aircraft around Oke-Aro to be very close to the ground, then it attempted to gain altitude but couldn't before he later heard a loud explosion. "I was in a bus and I saw the plane coming down; we all jumped out of the bus and started running. Then the plane tried going up again; then we heard a loud bang and then fire," Okafor told the magazine.
No official of the airline or aviation authorities were available for comments. TELL made several calls to Tony Usidamen, head, corporate communications, Dana Group. The calls were not responded to.
The cause of the accident is yet to be known. However, unconfirmed reports have it that the ill-fated Dana plane had been under repair for several weeks and the airline's station manager had protested its use but was overruled by the airline's management. A foreign station was also reported to have said that the plane should never have taken off because it was in a state where it should have been written off and that it's a wonder the plane even made it to Lagos.