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Sosoliso air crash survivor decries poor emergency system in Nigeria

By KENNETH EHIGIATOR

One of the two survivors of Sosoliso Airlines crash at Port Harcourt airport on December 10, 2005, Kechi Okwuchi, has decried poor rescue and emergency system in Nigeria.

She also made a case for high standards to be set for pilots flying in the country as it was in the United States, since they (pilots) were responsible for the lives of many on board their aircraft.

According to her, poor rescue and emergency system contributed largely to the death of passengers on board the ill-fated flight 1145, which claimed 107 lives.

Okwuchi, a student of Loyola Jesuit College, Abuja, but now a student of a private Catholic university, University of St. Thomas, in Houston, Texas, USA, spoke at the Memorial/Symposium and Presentation for the “60 Angels Memorial Staff Residence” in Abuja in honour of the 60 students of the school who died in the crash.

According to her, if the airport had good rescue and emergency systems, many of the victims of the crash may not have died.

She also lamented that since the crash in 2005, there had been other preventable crashes due to lack of air worthiness of  aircraft and poor decisions by pilots.

Okwuchi said:  “I want to mention that while here, I have heard about  every single plane crash that has occurred in Nigeria since 2005.

“In fact, there was the ADC plane crash that happened exactly a year after, on my birthday incidentally. When it happened (this was in 2006), I was catapulted back to my own memories of all the pain, the sorrow, the tears, the loss, and I thought  about all the families and friends of the 107 victims from my accident who are still grieving today.

“With each plane crash I hear about, a new pain is born. As my own memories replay in my mind, I know that somewhere back home a new set of families are grieving because they have lost loved ones.”

Then another accident and still more families in pain.”

Okwuchi, who had been on long-term treatment since the crash, said the aviation industry has improved the overall efficiency of the lives of many Nigerians.


Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.