by Staff Writer
Yesterday marked the one-month anniversary of the fatal Dana Air flight 9J-992. Since then the airline has had its fleet of planes grounded and many of the ground victims are still displaced and without homes, though there have been several drives to provide them with some relief items.
Dana Air released a statement today to update their efforts on dealing with the aftermath.
The statement said the airline was in “shock since the incident” and went on to reiterate their condolences to the families and friends of the deceased, stating they were “still hurting”, and mentioned that the airline had lost “some of our best crew” in the crash.
The statement also said that 98 percent of the DNA samples had been sent to the United Kingdom to be properly tested, and that only 22 bodies had been released to to families with proper documentation.
Read the entire statement:
Our entire management and the over 450 staff of Dana Air wish to express our profound appreciation to you for your prayers and enquiries since the tragic accident of Sunday, June 3, 2012 in which all 153 guests and crew on board Dana Air aircraft, with registration number 5N-RAM, and 4 residents of Iju-Ishaga community lost their lives.
* As operators of the aircraft, we have been in shock since the incident. We would like to first of all extend our deepest condolences and sympathies to the families and friends of those who lost their lives. It is so painful and we are still hurting like all households across Nigeria. We too lost friends, as well as some of our best crew, on the ill-fated flight.
* At this time, all of the senior management team of Dana Air are focused on providing assistance to the families, and also full cooperation to the authorities carrying out investigations into the cause of the accident. As yet, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has not shared with us any of the information that it has due to it being an ongoing exercise, and as a result we are limited in the facts that we can provide. However, we are doing everything within our power to ensure that the facts are thoroughly investigated and appropriate action taken to ensure such a tragedy can never happen again.
* Following the incident, Standard Airline Emergency Response Procedures were initiated and an information hotline and family support centres were immediately established. Crisis Management Centres have since been set up by the airline in Lagos and Abuja to offer support and counselling to all affected, and toll-free numbers and other contact details have been circulated and announced for families to contact for information and assistance.
On the identification and release of bodies to the families, Dana Air continues to engage with the Lagos State Government and the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) to expedite the process as much as possible so that families can lay their loved ones to rest. As per update from LASUTH on Friday, 22nd June, 98% of DNA samples had been sent to a UK laboratory for testing and more samples will be sent by Wednesday, 4th July. So far, 22 bodies have been properly identified and released to the families.
While we appreciate that no amount of compensation can make up for any of the precious lives lost, the airline is fully prepared to honour its duty to the families of the departed as stipulated by the law governing tragedies such as this. To facilitate the completion of claims forms, and prompt payment of benefits to the affected families, we had established dedicated toll-free lines to the Crisis Management Centre to provide assistance. The company will continue to provide this service until all claims have been addressed and settled.
* At present, the airline has made direct contact with 119 of the 120 families who lost loved ones in the accident, and is also in contact with the 9 embassies managing communications with the families of the foreign nationals involved. These families and embassies have been sent letters of condolence and subsequent communication about the insurance documentation necessary in order to facilitate compensation payments. As at the close of business on Tuesday, July 3, the company had received completed insurance forms from 68 families (4 of which are our staff members) and cheques for interim benefits have been issued to 9 claimants, following legal verification of documentation and next of kin status. The company is in contact with all other families who have submitted relevant documents to Dana Air’s Crisis Management Centre (CMC) in Lagos and Abuja, and has advised that they come forward to the Chambers of Yomi Oshikoya & Co, appointed by the insurers in Lagos, in order to conclude advance payment formalities. Dana Air is aware and perfectly understands and respects that most of the next of kin or legal representatives who submitted documents, or are yet to visit the CMC and submit documentations to us, are still observing the customary mourning period. Advance payment claims will be concluded on a case by case basis as and when claimants find it convenient to come forward.
* Dana Air is leaving no stone unturned towards the rehabilitation of the displaced Iju-Ishaga residents. The airline had provided relief materials to all affected residents and, in conjunction with the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), had made advanced efforts towards securing accommodation for the families. On Tuesday, 3rd July, the airline presented cheques to seven severely affected families to secure accommodation, as a palliative measure. The decision to monetize the gesture was based on the request by the affected families at a meeting between them and Dana Air officials on Thursday, 28th June, 2012. The company continues to maintain contact with these families, as well as other residents who are affected in varying degrees, and has given assurances that adequate compensation will be paid to them as soon as possible; updates on steps being taken will be provided to all affected persons and/or their representatives on a regular basis.
* Once again, on behalf of everyone at Dana Air, allow us to extend our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims of this tragic accident. Our prayers and thoughts are with them forever.
* Dana Air will continue to offer the families assistance, and will provide further updates when possible.
24 hour assistance contact numbers for families are:
LAGOS: 01-2809888, 08052697500 & 08077291288.
ABUJA: 07044213849 & 07026672145.
Toll-free numbers have been opened at 0809 993 7312, 0809 993 7313, 0809 993 7314 for calls within Nigeria.
NB: We ask journalists not to call these numbers, which are reserved for families and close relatives.
Dana Air Management