Aviation agencies on Wednesday gave conflicting time the Dana Air plane crashed while tesifying before the National Assembly Joint Investigation Committee into the disaster.
The air accident, which occurred at Iju-Ishaga, Lagos claimed the lives of the 153 passengers on board the plane from Abuja and unspecified residents of the homes the plane crashed into.
The Representative of the Director-General of the National Emergency Management Agency, Mr. Charles Agbo, told the committee that information about the crash got to the agency at about 3pm and immediately contacted with its South- West Coordinator in Lagos.
But NEMA’s Coordinator in Lagos, Charles Adakole, told the committee that he received an SMS about the crash at 4.12pm, and immediately moved to the site of the crash.
But the DG of the National Airspace Management Agency, Mr. Nnamdi Nwafor, in his presentation, said the pilot made a distress call or May Day, to the control towers at 2.42pm.
According to him, this means the distress call was made 14.42 GMT, which is the standard way of reading times in the aviation sector.
Although he could not state exactly when the plane crashed, he told the committee that the plane came down five nautical miles before landing and a 11 miles away from the airport.
He said the exact time of the crash would be ascertained when the black box is analysed and the transcript made available for public consumption.
However, the DG, Air Traffic Services at NAMA, Mukola Shobola, told the committee the pilot did not indicate any problem until it the plane was 11 miles away from the airport.
He said as soon as the distress call was made, all the emergencies units and agencies were activated.
Mr. Rafiq Arogunjo, the Duty Traffic Officer, who received the distress call, said he activated the alarm once the distress call came in.
“The plane was on the radar until it was five nautical miles from landing. I had to press the alarm and I saw a quick response of firemen heading towards the direction,” he said.
Arogunjo said he had cleared the plane for a final descent before the distress call came in, adding that all the necessary steps were taken by the agency to ensure that all the rescue agencies were alerted immediately.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Hope Uzodima, expressed frustration at the failure of the agencies to give the exact time the plane fell off the skies.
He said the reason why the time was crucial was because it would help the committee to ascertain the time the plane crashed and the time the rescue agencies mobilised to the site of the crash.
But a victim of the crash, Mr. Ike Ibe, who lost his wife, Nancy, daughter, Jenifer and a sister-in-law in the crash, told the committee to stop corruption in the aviation industry.
He said the committee should ascertain if the plane that left was airworthy at the time it took off.
Meanwhile, the all the airlines, including Dana, have been directed to appear on Thursday to take their turns in answering questions about their operations in Nigeria.