An embarrassing confusion followed a tragic crash of a small plane carrying 27 people and the corpse of the former Ondo state governor, Olusegun Agagu, on Thursday, Octobers 3, as Nigerian aviation and emergency authorities could not provide an accurate number of people perished in the crash.
Getting the precise number of passengers, crew, survivors and fatalities, as well as their names, was impossible for most of Thursday as officials provide inconsistent information to journalists.The plane with 20 passengers and seven crew was heading to Akure for burial of Agagu. More than ten people reported to be killed in the crash, while the casket with the ex-governor’s corpse ‘landed’ safely.
Early reports said there were 20 people on board, 15 whom perished and five survived.
The confusion was only beginning to take a more embarrassing shape…
The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) gave the first official confirmation of numbers at a press conference, saying only four people survived, while 16 people died. However, just before the briefing ended at about 4 pm, the AIB announced that the figure had risen to six.
It seems that such disparities could be understandable, given the volatility of the medical condition of those unfortunately involved in the accident. However, the confusion was only beginning to take a more embarrassing shape.
In hours, aviation minister, Stella Oduah, issued a statement she personally signed, reporting 14 casualties and meaning six people survived since at least all the sources agreed 20 people travelled on the plane.
While the minister’s numbers circulated, news agency Agence France-Presse, reported 13 deaths – the number that was immediately confirmed by the minister’s spokesperson, Joe Obi, immediately.
About the same time Reuters reported 16 deaths, quoting Usman Muktar,Commissioner of the Accident Investigation and Prevention Bureau.
However, when contacted by Premium Times later on Thursday evening, Muktar updated that figure to 12.
Lagos State Management Agency reported yet another figure: Oke Osayintolu, General Manager, said 11 people died and four were hospitalized.
Key websites are sleeping
24 hours after the tragic crash, here are the activities on the four websites that should have come handy in managing information about a plane crash in the 21st century:
The Ministry of Aviation’s website, www.aviation.gov.ng, is dysfunctional.
At the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority’s (NCAA’s) website http://www.ncaa.gov.ng, the latest news previews President Jonathan laying the foundation for new International Terminal at Enugu Airport published May 18, 2013.
On the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria’s (FAAN’s) website at www.faannigeria.org, latest news is on the visit of House of Representatives aviation committee to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, published in March. And the latest press release is titled “Edo State Government unlawfully shuts down Benin Airport” published in July.
On the Accident Investigation Bureau’s website, http://www.aib.gov.ng/, the newest information, is on the Interim Statement on DANA Air 0992.