Posted by By Chinyere Amalu, with agency reports on
TWO of the three survivors of the Sosoliso plane crash which killed 107 passengers, including 71 schoolchildren, have been flown abroad for further treatment, a police spokeswoman said yesterday.
ABUJA—TWO of the three survivors of the Sosoliso plane crash which killed 107 passengers, including 71 schoolchildren, have been flown abroad for further treatment, a police spokeswoman said yesterday.
The three survivors had been admitted at the Anglo-Dutch Shell clinic and Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital since Saturday when an ageing Sosoliso Airlines McDonnell Douglas DC-9 ploughed into the city airport’s runway, went up in flames and tore to pieces.
Hospital officials said the conditions of two of the survivors were critical while the third was luckier with minor injuries. “I spoke to Shell yesterday (Tuesday) and they told me they have flown one of the two survivors in their clinic to South Africa for further treatment,” spokeswoman for the Rivers State police, Ireju Barasua, said in an interview.
She said another survivor at the teaching hospital was also flown abroad, but could not immediately confirm if she was taken to South Africa. The third survivor, Bunmi Amusan, would soon be discharged from Shell clinic since she received minor injuries during the accident, Barasua said.
Bereaved parents unhappy with FG
Meanwhile, some parents of the children who lost their lives in the crash yesterday slammed the Minister of Aviation, Professor Babalola Borishade, because, according to them, the aviation industry under his leadership has failed Nigerians.
The Parents Teachers Association of Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja also called for an immediate and transparent investigation into the crash, stressing that the action taken so far by the Federal Government on the tragic incident is unsatisfactory.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, the association's chairman, Engineer Ambrose Feese, also demanded that the report of the investigation be published while those found guilty be brought to book.
Government had, Monday, sent on an indefinite leave, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Aviation, Mr. Tom Oyelade, and the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics in the ministry, Mr. Esai Dangabar, on the account of Saturday’s crash in Port Harcourt but the parents said they were unsatisfied with that action.
But speaking to reporters, Mr Feese said: “Government should immediately empanel a technical committee of experts from within and outside Nigeria to examine, ascertain and publish the air worthiness of all Nigerian aircraft flying local and international routes. All aircraft found to be unworthy, should be grounded at once.”
The PTA chairman who demanded that the budgetary allocation to the aviation sector be enhanced substantially, starting with the 2005 appropriation, called for the promptly release of funds for all facilities (navigational and landing aids, fire fighting equipment with skilled personnel) to be acquired and installed at all airports and kept functional at all times.
“The relevant supervisory agency should establish a visible presence at all airports to which travellers can report perceived malfunction on any flight. The agency should have powers to ground the aircraft until its systems are checked and certified to be in order before the aircraft is allowed to fly again,” he said.
The association also demanded that a law be passed, establishing a consumer protection agency independent of the Aviation Ministry, to act as a watchdog and to ensure that standards are observed in the nation’s aviation industry.
“The railway system as an alternative medium of transportation should be revived immediately. The existing system is obsolete and has been abandoned and out of use. It should be scrapped completely. A new network should be started now and developed over time. If it takes 50 years to restore it, let us do it. The same goes for the inland waterways.
“Excess revenues from crude oil sales should be channelled to revamp a sustainable transport system. Exclusive of all non-passengers/travellers from check-in counters and beyond be enforced at all airports.
“This is one tragedy too many in the nation’s aviation industry. It is the third fatal mishap in quick succession within the space of 40 days. These incidents have taken over 225 precious lives. Never should this magnitude of tragedy be allowed to happen again in this country. We do not want to see these children die in vain. We want to see that something is done about the aviation industry and very fast too,” he said.
Engineer Feese, however, said nearly 60 of Nigeria’s brightest children have been roasted alive in the latest tragedy that has hit the aviation sector, appealing to Federal Government to act now as they don’t want a recurrence and will not accept it.
Also speaking at the briefing, Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Information, Hon. Abike Dabiri, was of a different opinion, saying the incident was not an act of God but that of devil, adding that enough is enough.
“This is not an act of God. God is not going to watch 50 children to die in a day. God did not say that a mother should lose her three children. I want to appeal to mothers to come together as one and form a pressure group. We must fight this. Let us be the agent of change. These children cannot die in vain. If this is the price we have to pay for their death, let us rise up and fight. Enough is enough,” she said.
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