Dana crash victims were alive in plane inferno – PathologistAviation, Headlines Thursday, July 26th, 2012
Consultant Pathologist and Chief Medical Examiner of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Prof. John Obafunwa, on Wednesday said there was evidence that some of the dead victims of the June 3 plane crash in Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos were still alive while the fire that resulted from the accident was burning.
The crash involving a Dana Air plane killed about 163 persons.
Obafunwa also gave insight into the possible cause of deaths of the victims during Wednesday’s proceedings of a Coroner’s inquest into the crash.
The inquest, which is being presided over by Oyetade Kolawole, held on Wednesday in Ikeja where it was relocated to from Abule-Egba.
Obafunwa, who was led by a counsel from the state Ministry of Justice, Mr. Akingbolahan Adeniran, representing the Attorney General of the state, said about 60 per cent of the victims died from multiple injury and 30 per cent of them died as a result of combination of suffocation and multiple injury.
He said the cause of death of the rest of the 10 per cent ranged from “smoke inhalation to occasional fractures and severe body charring.”
Fielding questions from Mr. Femi Falana, whose law firm initiated the inquest, Obafunwa said, “Yes, it is possible that some of the victims were alive while the fire was still burning because there is evidence of smoke inhalation in some of them.”
Obafunwa added that it was not certain that some of the victims could have been rescued even if needed equipment were deployed in the crash site early enough to rescue victims.
“It is yes and no, because those who were alive in the fire might also have died as a result of multiple injuries,” he said.
He said further that results of the toxicology test were also being awaited from the UK to further ascertain that some of the victims might have died in the fire.
He said types of multiple injuries sustained by the victims include “skull fracture, fracture in the hands and leg, fracture in the breast plate, puncture in the lungs and severe blood lost.”
He added that such injuries led to “blood fall trauma”, which on its own was sufficient to kill.
According to him, 152 complete and partial bodies; 16 body parts and seven bone fractures were received from the crash site.
He said about 50 bodies among them were complete.
Explaining what he meant by partial bodies, Obafunwa said, “For instance there were some bodies with recognisable head and the body below the elbow might be absent. Some may be a bare bone with muscle attached to it with just a portion of the thigh.”
Testimonies of representatives of the police and the National Emergency Management Agency were taken before the matter was adjourned till Thursday (today).
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