Cover Stories, News

AFTERMATH OF ASSOCIATED AIRLINES’ PLANE MISHAP

Deji Falae’s widow still distraught and inconsolable

‘She’s in a trance’

–       The Okunsanya bewildered about twin deaths

–       Crash site overtaken by security operatives

–       Doctors battle to save another survivor, Felix Fatoye

BARELY one week after Associated Airlines’ plane conveying the remains of former Ondo State governor, Dr. Olusegun Agagu, 13 passengers and seven crew members crashed shortly after take-off at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, leaving 15 people dead while others are still battling for survival, security has now been beefed up at the crash site.

When ENCOMIUM Weekly visited the place on Wednesday, October 9, 2013, there was a heavy presence of fierce looking security personnel manning the entrance of the site.  Not only that, all the signals indicating that the place is no-go area at the moment were obvious.

We were specifically warned by the security officials to keep off until further notice.

However, one of the security operatives who preferred anonymity told us that the two engines of the plane were removed, shortly after the crash.

“The truth is that nobody can be allowed to visit the site now.  As you can see, it’s under protection at the moment.  Investigations as to the cause of the incident are still in progress.  That’s why Associated Airlines officials visit this place regularly.”

Tunji Okusanya and son

Tunji Okusanya and son

The OKUSANYAS still in deep mourning

IT was a similar experience when ENCOMIUM Weekly visited the residence of the late MIC boss, Tunji Okusanya, at 95, Igi Olugbin Street, Pedro, Bariga, Lagos, on Saturday, October 12, 2013.

The place was quiet at the time we visited.  Only few family members were around.  However, one man believed to be the late Okusanya’s elder brother attended to us.  He, however, restricted us from seeing the other members of the family, who we learnt were upstairs.

“Yes, I know exactly what you people want. But I think you should also understand that the incident is still very fresh.  We’re yet to come out of it.  Please, you don’t need to bother yourself on anything now.  No chance for any comment now, you can only sign the condolence register if you don’t mind.”

DEJI FALAE’S  WIDOW STILL DISTRAUGHT

– Dolphin Estate home inaccessible to journalists

ON Wednesday, October 9, 2013, ENCOMIUM Weekly was at 106, Ilupeju Street, Dolphin Estate, Ikoyi, Lagos residence of late Commissioner for Tourism and Agriculture, Ondo State, Deji Falae who also died in the crash.

All our efforts to gain access to the widow of the late commissioner were rebuffed.  We were told by one of the relations of the deceased, who refused to mention his name, that the woman is still emotionally unstable as the incident is still very fresh.

“As you can see the situation of things yourself, you can’t even have access to where the woman is. The incident is still very fresh.  The woman is yet to regain consciousness.  So, why do you want to disturb her?  She deserves to rest. Some of your colleagues had come for similar reason, we told them the same thing.  Why not allow us to be for now, we’re still mourning.  After all, the DNA issue is still ongoing.

“Nobody among us can speak to you on the incident until after two weeks.  But if you don’t mind, here is the condolence register, you can sign it and go. Thank you, sir.”

However, the atmosphere was still calm, reflecting the mourning mood of the family.  And with sympathizers trickling in to commiserate with the Falaes.  We left the place about 4 p.m same day after signing the condolence register.

An insider disclosed to us that Deji Falae left behind three kids, two boys and a girl.  “The man had three kids. But I don’t know their names.  I learnt his first child is a boy who has just clocked 15, followed by another boy 12, while the last born, a girl is just about five. I don’t even know his wife’s name, I only know they address her as SA.”

“The man left here for the airport that fateful day.  We all said goodbye to him, not knowing that was the last day we would see him. It’s sad,” the source added.

VISIT TO GENERAL HOSPITAL, GBAGADA

ON Thursday, October 10, 2013, ENCOMIUM Weekly was at Lagos State General Hospital, Gbagada annex, where one of the survivors of the ill-fated crash, whose name was given as Felix Fatoye, is hospitalized.

Our efforts to have access to Burns and Plastic Ward, where he is said to be receiving treatment, proved abortive as we’re not allowed entry into the department for any visit whatsoever.

One of the nurses who spoke to us under the condition of anonymity confirmed that there is a victim of the plane crash in the ward, receiving treatment.

“It’s true there is one of the survivors of Thursday, October 3, 2013 plane crash in this department, but you can’t be allowed to see him. It’s unethical to our profession, especially when the situation is critical like this. The man sustained serious burns, that’s why he was moved to this ward.  But I would advise you see the Medical Director about it.  If he now permits you, you’re free.  And that means you have to come back tomorrow.”

An insider also disclosed to ENCOMIUM Weekly that a closed door meeting was held on Thursday, October 10, by the senior medical team of the hospital in respect of Fatoye’s worrisome situation, and it was recommended at the meeting that he should also be flown abroad for further treatment.

“A meeting was held here yesterday in respect of the plane crash survivor who was brought here few days ago.  I learnt the senior medical personnel had suggested that the man should also be flown abroad for intensive care because he sustained serious burns.  But I learnt he just regained his consciousness yesterday and is responding to treatment.  But to save his life, and make him relevant again, I learnt they all agreed he should be flown abroad just as in the case of Feyi Agagu and Femi Akinsanya, who are likely to be flown overseas this evening for further medical attention.”

ENCOMIUM Weekly later met the hospital’s Medical Director, Dr. Daudu Adekunle on Fatoye’s condition.  He denied the identity of the victim, but confirmed one of the survivors of the plane crash was at the hospital at the moment.

“We have one of the survivors of the incident here but I can’t comment on anything concerning the details about him or his identity.  I am not in a position to do that.  I am just a medical doctor, a civil servant. I don’t even have power to allow you access to where he is.  If you want anything about him, I would advise you see the Commissioner for Health or Deputy Governor.  The situation is beyond me.”

Probed further on the said meeting concerning Fatoye’s pathetic situation, he also declined comment. “I have told you, I can’t say anything about the situation. It’s not my jurisdiction, please.”

  – TADE ASIFAT

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