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A Nation Counts Its losses: The Sosoliso Crash

Posted by From Chuks Okocha, Okon Bassey in Port Harcourt, Agha Ibiam, Yemi Akinsuyi, Ndubuisi Francis in Lagos and Chuka Odittah in Abuja on 2005/12/12 | Views: 5580 |

A Nation Counts Its losses: The Sosoliso Crash


Aviation authorities, Loyola Jesuit Collge, abuja and other concerned citizens began counting their losses when the manifest of passengers aboard the ill-fated Sosoliso Airline flight 1145 that crashed Saturday at the Port Harcourt International Airport was released yesterday.

Aviation authorities, Loyola Jesuit Collge, Abuja and other concerned citizens began counting their losses when the manifest of passengers aboard the ill-fated Sosoliso Airline flight 1145 that crashed Saturday at the Port Harcourt International Airport was released yesterday.


One hundred and two of the 109 passengers and crew members on board died instantly as the aircraft burst into flames.


However four of the seven survivors including Pastor (Mrs) Bimbo Odukoya of the Fountain of Life Church, died yesterday.


Sources told THISDAY that the condition of the remaining three survivors Bunmi Amusan, Priscilla Aligba and Nkechi Okwuchi, a youth corp member were fairly stable at Shell Clinic and University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH).


Speaking before releasing the flight manifest yesterday, Sosoliso Airline's Director of Ground Operations, Chief Obi Ogbolu said "we deeply regret this accident, we don't know what caused it but all we are doing at the moment is to commiserate with the families (of victims) of the ill-fated air plane".


He also said "the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is looking into the cause of the accident. Meanwhile, we are deeply sorry for what happened."


The manifest showed that not less than 50 of the passengers were holidaying students of Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja. They include two brothers, Awayi C. and Awayi U, the three Ilabor children and the first son of Mr. Chris Olakpe, former Force Public Relations Officer.


Others on the list include two couples, Mr. and Mrs Mba as well as Mr. and Mrs Whyte. Also in the ill-fated plane was the National President of Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), Comrade Uche Okoro and the Rivers State Commissioner for Education, Professor Thompson Okujagu.


Meanwhile, 51 corpses of victims of the plane crash have so far been identified and collected by their relations.


The Deputy Inspector-General of Police (DIG), ‘B’ Department  (Oper-ations) , Police Headquarters, Abuja, Mr. Mike Okiro, who disclosed  this at a press briefing last night said 35 bodies of the deceased were conveyed to Briathwaite Memorial Hospital, 35 to University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital and 36 to Military Hospital.


“So far, 51 corpes have been identified and collected by relations, 28 from BMH and twenty-three from UPTH respectively. Identification and collection of bodies are still going on at these hospitals”, Okiro said.


He ruled out the possibility of ritual people going to the hospital to pose as relatives of the victims in order to remove the corpses for ritual purposes.


The DIG who was with the state police commissioner, Mr. Samuel Adetunji maintained that sufficient police security has been put in place to secure the crash site for necessary post-crash investigations.


“The Nigeria Police wishes to extend her heart felt sympathy to families and relations of the crash victims particularly at this point of their grief.”
He said aviation experts have commenced investigations into the crash.


However, relatives of the victims invaded the Braithwaite Memorial Hospital (BMH) and other mortuaries in the state for the identification of corpses.


The Permanent Secretary, Rivers State Ministry of Health, Dr. (Mrs.) Ngozi Odu told Thisday that 42 corpses of the victims were taken to the BMH for preservation with others taken to  mortuaries of other public and private hospitals including University of  Port Harcourt Hospital, Military hospital and Shell hospital mortuaries.


She said  it has been very traumatic experience as the mortuary attendants at each of the hospital have been working overnight since the crash occurred for the preservation of the corpses. She added that the state government is going to pick all the bill.


The state government, she said, has set up traumatic counseling point  at the mortuaries  as pro-active action for relatives that go for the identification of the corpses  as well as waiting ambulance in case of any other emergency for those who could not withstand the trauma.


Besides. Dr. Odu said Governor Peter Odili has directed that information point be set up at the airport for proper coordination and communication with relatives and members of the public.


Meanwhile, the Fountain of Life Church has formally announced the demise of its co-Pastor, Mrs. Bimbo Odukoya in the ill-fated Sosoliso aircraft.


A statement signed by Pastor Alfred Ohiani, said 45-year old Pastor Bimbo was most renowned for her television ministry, "Single and Married", which airs both in Nigeria and around the world."She is also the President of Discovery for Women", the statement added.


Pastor Bimbo Odukoya is survived by her husband, Pastor Taiwo, the Senior Pastor of the Fountain of Life Church, her three children, Tolu, Jimi, and Tobi as well as her aged parents, brothers and sisters.


There was gloom at both the Ilupeju Town Planning way, Lagos headquarters of the church and the Ikeja GRA home of the Odukoyas yesterday as throngs of sympathisers were streaming in and out.


Among the dignitaries that were on hand to commiserate with the family were Governor Bola Tinubu of Lagos State and his wife, Remi who wept profusely, Bishop Mike Okonkwo of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), Pastor Paul Adefarasin of House on the Rock, former House of Respresentatives member, Hon. Nduka Irabor and wife, Mr. Ausbeth Ajagu, and Mr. Akin Osinbajo, Ogun State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.