An official of Dana Airlines who does not want to be named has just confirmed to Channels Television that the ill-fated Dana Air flight 0992, MC Donnell Douglas (MD 83) was faulty shortly after it left Lagos and stopped over in Calabar.
She alleged that the Indian owners of the airline threw caution to the wind and insisted that the plane must fly in a bid to maximise profit, thereby sending the plane over to Abuja to pick passengers, when it should have being returned to Lagos for further repair.
She also claimed the flight has had persistent history of faults with its hydraulics in recent times and it was not supposed to have flown.
Dana Air Flight 0992 crashed into a two-storey building in Iju-Ishaga, a densely populated area in Lagos state, 4 nautical miles from reaching the runway of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, killing all 153 passengers on board. Residents of the building were also killed in the crash and explosion.
According to the official, “the plane has being giving faults for a very long time. There was a case when it was on ground in Uyo for over six hours, because of delayed flight, it had a bolt. And then in Abuja it happened a few days ago, then some people went with the aircraft but they could not come back, because it had a fault there and it couldnt leave Abuja.”
“The same engineers that fixed it and then they sent crew to bring it with passengers to Lagos.”
Confirming that the plane that crashed on Sunday, was not supposed to leave Lagos at all, the Dana official stated that “yesterday, it (Dana Air flight 0992) was not supposed to leave Lagos at all, but it left and then got to Calabar, gave fault and it was fixed and then they took it to Abuja, when they should have returned to Lagos but because they didn’t want to part with the little money they will make, they took it to Abuja, loaded full passengers, and then it couldn’t get to Lagos. ”
“It has being having faults over time, continously, hydraulics or one thing or the other. That airfcraft kept having problems and they were not ready to park it” she alleged.
She added that the management of the airline does not return airfcrafts with faults back to the station, as it should have, but “they make it complete its normal route to where ever it is supposed to go before they bring it back to Lagos” she said.
Also, the Special Adviser, Technical to Minister of Aviation, Mr. Victor Oche Elias, has revealed that the pilot of the ill-fated plane, had alerted the aviation authority of the airport, on the emergency situation 11 nautical miles to landing.
It was further disclosed that the pilot’s May-Day cry was given priority, but the plane could not make it, as it crashed 4 nautical miles to landing.
MC Donnell Douglas MD 83 was sold to Dana Airline in 2009 by a US-based Alaska Airlines, ahead of the airline commencing its services in Nigeria.
Dana Air’s denial
Meanwhile, the management of Dana Airline has issued a statement, denying that the ill-fated plane had any problem.
The management of the company says the aircraft had no problem at all and that it is too early to tell what caused the crash since the black box of the aircraft has not been found.
The company also says it will pay the stipulated compensation to families of the deceased.
The company in the statement expressed its sadness about the plane crash, saying “Dana Air family is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of the passengers and crew of Flight 9J-922 of Sunday, June 3, 2012.”
The company in the statement signed by the company’s Chief Executive Officer; Jacky Hathiramani, extended its sympathies to the families and friends of the deceased, and gave the assurance that it is “doing everything we can to assist them in this extremely difficult time.”
The company also announced that a 24hr Call Centre service has been initiated and also an information centre at MMA2 to look after their needs and keep them as quickly informed as possible.
Contact Numbers: 01-2809888 and 07003593262.
It also noted that an investigation into the cause of the accident has gotten under way immediately, with the guidance of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), who are being assisted by investigators from the U.S. National Safety Transportation Board (NTSB).