by Chi Ibe
A Nigerian man based in the US has sued the U.S. companies that designed, manufactured and sold the ill-fated plane Dana Air MD-83 plane after his wife died in the crash last Sunday.
According to the Sacramento Bee, American aviation attorney, Gary Robb, who filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Chicago on behalf of David Chukwunonso Allison, said reports of engine failure as the plane approached Lagos points to the companies’ culpability.
Among those named in the 56-page lawsuit are Chicago-based Boeing Co., which bought the McDonnell-Douglas manufacturer of the plane, and Connecticut-based engine-maker Pratt & Whitney.
Nigeria’s aviation minister, Stella Oduah said that the flight’s captain radioed Lagos as the aircraft approached and declared an emergency, saying both of the MD-83’s engines had failed. Minutes later, the plane crashed into several buildings. “Engines do not fail unless something goes dramatically wrong,” Robb said.
Without offering details, the suit claims the Pratt & Whitney “engines used a defective and unreasonably dangerous design.” Although Pratt & Whitney has not responded directly to the lawsuit, they said; “our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of all those involved in this incident.”
Allison’s wife, Joy Chiedozie Allison, was on the Dana Air MD-83 crash that killed 153 people who were on the plane and an undetermined number of people on the ground.
The lawsuit seeks damage payments, though an amount will be determined later.
See excerpts from The Sacramento Bee article
Francis Ogboro, an executive who oversees Dana Air, defended the airline Wednesday against growing public criticism, noting that its own chief engineer died on the doomed flight.
The MD-83 had undergone strenuous checks like the others the carrier owns and that he routinely flies, he told journalists.
The chief engineer “certainly would not have allowed that aircraft to take off” if there was a problem, Ogboro said. “No airline crew would go on a suicide mission.”
Emergency officials on Wednesday stopped searching for those killed at the crash site in Iju-Ishaga, the Lagos neighbourhood about five miles from Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed International Airport.
Officials still aren’t sure how many people died, and a complete death toll could take weeks. The plane smashed into two apartment buildings, a printing business and a woodshop.
Authorities have collected the flight voice and data recorders from the plane and plan to send them to the U.S. for analysis. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board also has sent an investigator to assist Nigeria’s Accident Investigation Board.
The State Department says nine Americans were among those killed.