The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, has revealed that the Brazil made Embraer 120 plane which crashed in Lagos, on Thursday morning, was air worthy.
Speaking during a telephone interview on Channels Television’s flagship breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, on Friday, the agency’s General Manager, Corporate Communications, Yakubu Datti, said that the aircraft “had a current certificate of air worthiness till October 2015” as well as “an insurance policy till June 2014.”
Mr Datti further disclosed that the 30 passenger capacity aircraft which was registered in Nigeria on the 22nd of May, 2007, last operated on the 22nd of August, 2013 before the ill-fated flight which led to the loss of lives on the 3rd of October.
“The aircraft was certified fit for flying by one of the airlines aircraft maintenance engineer prior to the fatal flight,” he said. The engineer was also on board the plane.
Speaking on conflicting reports of the number of survivors, which has been pegged at 7, Mr Datti explained that “survivors were rushed to three different hospital locations”
As at yesterday, we were able to confirm that seven persons survived, though 6 are responding to treatment, one is still unconscious”.
He admitted that the agency’s fire fighters had a major challenge of crowd management but they were still able to extinguish the fire within two minutes of arriving at the scene.
He further attributed the ability to save some lives to the fire fighters’ efforts at the scene of the crash.
However, “one must commend the Lagos state government and also the Nigerian police and Air force who were able to ensure that the road was free to convey the surviving victims to the hospital location”.
Following speculations that the aircraft may have attempted to return to the airport after take-off, Mr Dati said information available to the agency revealed that the plane crashed barely two minutes after.
“It was actually in the process of taking off”.
He confirmed that there were no ground casualties as the “plane actually landed on the fence of Joint Users Hydrant Installation (JUHI) premises”.
FAAN’s spokesman said the agency “has contacted some of the families of the victims and we are making concerted efforts to reach other families”.
He commended the rescue efforts of all agencies as well as Lagos state officials involved in the rescue operation.
Commenting on the response time to the accident, Mr Datti said it took just two minutes to get to the crash site, adding that, “immediately it happened, our control tower activated the crash alarm and immediately the relevant agencies moved to the site”.