Forty-three bodies of the victims of Sunday plane crash have been identified by their family members, Chief Medical Director of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, Prof Wale Oke, said on Tuesday.
The CMD also revealed that 103 bodies had been burnt beyond recognition and had been moved from LASUTH morgue to the Mainland Hospital, Yaba, for further forensic examination.
“Twenty-nine bodies were earlier identified, but another 14 have also being identified now, making a total of 43,” Oke told our correspondent late on Tuesday.
In the first batch of 29 corpses already identified was that of a former Deputy Inspector-General of Police John Ahmadu Hamza.
Also on the list of corpses identified, according to the CMD, were Martin Alade (M); Sonny Ehioghae (M); Temitope Ariyibi (F); Okocha Christopher (M), Stanford Obstrute (M); Ikpoki Obiola (M); Patrick Eze Okonji (M); Bassey Eyo (M); Kanguyi (Chinese (M); Charles Ntoko (M); Dr Abiodun Jonathan (M); Ifeanwaka Jones (M); Obot Emmanuel (M); Prof C.O. Onwuluri, Chinwe Uzoamaka Obi (F); Olabinjo Awodogbin (M); Anibaba Tosin (F); Obinna Akubueze (M); Nagidi Ibrahim (M); Mahmud Ahmed Dukawa (M); Ibrahim Jangana (M); George Moses (M); Femi Shobowale (M); Ailende Ehi Joel (M); Kim Edger Norris (M); One unnamed female and two babies whose names were yet to be established.
The identities of the other 14 were yet to be released on Tuesday.
Oke however said the bodies could not be immediately released to family members of the deceased in view of the coroner law in operation in the state.
“Nobody has been taken away. There is a state law on coroner inquest with all of them dying suddenly in a plane crash, they would require autopsy and investigations. Litigation cannot (also) be ruled out. So we must do it right,” he said.
The LASUTH CMD added, “We require all these and also more examinations, so as to ensure that we are giving the bodies to the right persons. We need forensic examination and DNA testing as part of the requirement. X-rays are being done, tissues are being taken to properly identify the bodies being processed.
“Then we would face the unrecognisable ones squarely. That is why we are doing things steadily. Some of them have ATM cards, identity cards but we must carry out those tests to make sure the right persons carry the right body.”
Bereaved relations of victims of the plane crash besieged LASUTH on Tuesday to fill identification forms in a bid to identify the corpses. At the Dana Air Crisis Information Centre at the Department of Pathology and Forensic Medicine, the hospital gave out data forms to the bereaved relations to fill as a guide to identifying the bodies.
The forms requested identification materials, including international passports or driving licence, gender and dates of births, nationality, states of origin, local government details, phone numbers, residential addresses, occupation of the relations as well as that of the deceased to be identified.
A passenger plane, MD-83, operated by Dana Airlines, crashed onto houses in the residential area of Iju-Ishaga, a suburb of Lagos on Sunday, killing all the 153 on board, including the crew members.
Eager relations of the victims already identified on Tuesday asked the hospital authorities to release their corpses.
But Oke said the bodies could not be released yet and asked for three days before releasing the bodies.
“In three days’ time we should have finished the autopsy report and then we can give the bodies to the relatives. Our forensic team is on hand but they just started today. We are being very careful and professional,” he said.
A group of Chinese nationals who work with a popular construction company in Lagos came in a convoy of six cars to identify their dead colleagues.
The construction firm, CCECC, lost six employees to the crash. One of the six had been identified to be among the first batch of 29.
One of the Chinese, Jason Wu, who spoke with our correspondent, said he was desperate to see his colleagues’ bodies, as only one, Kanguyi, had been identified out of the six who died in the crash.
“We have only found one of the six corpses. The hospital said we can’t take the body today; some protocol need to be followed. We need the corpses so that we can take them back to China for burial,” Wu said.