Dana Air Crash: Autopsy of Negligence
Like many Nigerians, friends of mine died in yesterday’s Dana Air plane crash from Abuja to Lagos.
This was not the first time that I lost friends on a Nigerian plane crash. It happens too frequently in Nigeria.
I decided to carry out an autopsy of the crash .
Why did the plane crash?
The Dana Air MD-83, registration number 5N- RAM that crashed, yesterday, killing 153 passengers on board, was a disaster waiting to happen.
Dana Air 5N- RAM had a history of defaults even before original owners, US-based Alaska Airlines sold it to Dana Airlines on February 17, 2009.
The MD-83 was manufactured in 1983, and had first flight on December 17, 1984.
Typical range for the MD-83 with 155 passengers .
2)Problems with the MD-83 in Alaska:
The ill-fated aircraft was acquired by Alaska Airline in November 13, 1990 with registration number N944AS.
However, on November 4, 2002 the aircraft developed fault and had emergency diversion due to smoke in the cabin area. Four years after, on August 20, 2006, it was again evacuated after landing at the Long Beach, CA due to a wire bundle that discharged and produced smoke in the cabin area again.
Scared that the worst could happen, Alaska Airlines on August 21 parked the aircraft until September 11 2008 when it carried out maintenance on it.
On February 2009 Alaska Airlines shifted the burden to Nigeria when it sold the ill-fated plane as 5N-RAM.
3)Problems with the Dana MD-83 in Nigeria:
On May 3 2012, a Lagos station manager of the airline drew the attention of management of the airlines that the aircraft needed to be grounded for check-up but that alarm was ignored.
On May 11, 2012, the same aircraft billed for Lagos/Abuja with more than half capacity passengers had an air return and emergency landing at the Murtala Muhammed airport.
Reports said passengers on board had to hurriedly disembark and sought alternative means of traveling. No casualty.
4)The Final Straw
On May 25, 2012, the same plane that was to do Lagos/Calabar flight also made another air return to Lagos after the crew reported critical engine fault.
There was also no casualty.
Then came the final straw. On June 3, when while on a final appraisal to the runway 16L, the aircraft rammed into a power line, crashed into a build-up area about 5-6 nautical miles from touch down. It burst into flames, killing all 153 passengers on board and 30 on ground.
5) Cause of Death :’ Nigeria’
Those people on the Dana MD-83 did not simply die of a crash . They died of a systemic failure of the construct of ‘Nigeria’.
There were 6 airline crashes between 2000-2006 .
After this particular crash, it took 1.5 hours for the arrival of just 2 fire fighters at the scene.
They were armed with faulty water- hoses and had inadequate water.
The Nigerian poison of negligence, greed, and incompetence killed them. And eventually, it kills us all.
6) Call to Duty
Yet each and every Nigerian IS Nigeria. We all either contribute to the system or we do nothing and allow it to continue.
Let us forget about the leadership and focus on what we control: Ourselves.
The so-called elite and the common man must unite and forcibly re-instill values of decency and hard work from the bottom up.
Failure to do so will mean more of these avoidable tragedies and “the labours of our heroes past” shall, despite the pledge of our national anthem “be in vain” .