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How I rescued crash victims, by heroic boy

Posted by By ROSE EJEMBI, Makurdi on 2006/09/20 | Views: 990 |

How I rescued crash victims, by heroic boy

His name is Detimber, which means ‘Don’t delay.’ No wonder he acted fast in climbing to the top of the mountain when he heard the thunderous crashing sound of the military plane that fateful Sunday morning.

His name is Detimber, which means ‘Don’t delay.’ No wonder he acted fast in climbing to the top of the mountain when he heard the thunderous crashing sound of the military plane that fateful Sunday morning.

Speaking with Daily Sun in his father’s compound at Mbakumu, a village separated by Ngokugh mountain from Obudu cattle ranch, Detimber said the day started with a very cloudy weather and it was threatening to rain when the sound of a passing aircraft was heard at about 8 am.

"Shortly after the aircraft had passed through our compound, we heard a very fearful noise on top of the mountain which lasted for about thirty minutes or more."

Determined to find out what really happened, Detimber took off to the top of the mountain, a journey which lasted three hours. And what he saw shook him – a crashed plane with human beings trapped inside.

"I saw books flying everywhere and then a large expanse of land that looked as if it had just been cleared. When I trailed that route, I saw a plane that had crashed with human beings trapped inside," he said.
Detimber disclosed that when he was about to run away from the scene, one of the victims who he suspected to be the pilot beckoned on him to come and tried to convince him get help for them fast.
"When I moved closer, I saw human beings in army uniforms, some dead and a few still alive and rolling in pains. I began to shiver and started crying."

At that point, Detimber who only communicates in pidgin English said the man gave him his GSM handset which he used to call his father whose compound is at the foot of the mountain to mobilize people with axes and cutlasses so that they can bring out the trapped victims from the wreckage.

This took another three to four hours and by the time the villagers were done, 18 persons were brought out, among whom were 12 Generals, three lieutenant colonels and three crew members.
"Thirteen among them were dead while five persons were still alive but most of them were badly injured and unconscious," offers the heroic boy.

The villagers immediately set in motion machinery to resuscitate the dying solders and to also get in touch with the state government via the local council, informing them of the air disaster in their village.
A health worker in the village, John Toryila who was also contacted to give first aid to the victims, said he had to place some of the survivors on drips because of their critical condition after cleaning up their wounds and applying iodine and bandages.

The villagers also mobilized to take food and water to the survivors and when it was too late to come down from the mountain top, they all decided to stay with the victims until the next morning when the helicopter marked NEMA Rescue came to evacuate them.

Benue State Government Dr. George Akume who still made it to the village around 11pm that Sunday night on hearing about the accident described it as unfortunate and condoled the Nigerian Army and families of those who lost their lives, while also praying for the quick recovery of the survivors.

He gave scholarship to Detimber from primary to the university level for the great feat and directed the State Commissioner of Works, Engr. Charles Mary to open an account in his name with immediate effect.
The villagers were not also left out as the Army Chief Andrew Azazi who was impressed by their commitment to helping fellow Nigerians gave them the sum of N 480,000,00 as gift.

The Chief of Army Staff who said the victims were supposed to be having a meeting with him at Obudu Cattle Ranch that Sunday evening noted that the aircraft was to drop them and come back to pick him and others.

Also, the Chief Press Secretary to the Benue State Governor, Tyodzua Atim who rode on a bike from Adikpo to the site of the crash described it as one tragedy too many in the annals of Nigeria as a country.

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