A family of nine was among the 153 passengers and crew members that perished in the ill-fated Abuja-Lagos Dana flight on Sunday.
The family, the Anyenes, made up of the husband, wife, four children, wife’s mother and two other family members described as the wife’s cousins were mainly based in Connecticut, United States of America.
Four of the Anyenes on the manifest were Onyeka Anyene, Noah Anyene, Kamsi Anyene and Kayinentochi Anyene.
Two of the children, who are girls, are said to be twins. It was learnt that the husband is based in Nigeria but visits the family frequently in the United States of America. His wife, Maimuna, their four children, Maimuna’s mother and the two cousins, who are reported to be helping out with taking care of the children, are all in Connecticut.
Report had it that they went to the North to attend the wedding ceremony of Maimuna’s brother.
Sources said they flew in from the US on Thursday for the wedding and were due to return to their base on either Monday or Tuesday. The Sun News Online learnt that the husband of Maimuna’s younger sister was already waiting to pick them at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport II on arrival in Lagos. The man works with one of the major telecommunications companies in Nigeria.
A US-based newspaper, reporting at westhartford.patch.com, said that the neighbours of the Ayenes in Connecticut are inconsolable.
The newspaper reports:
Residents of West Hartford’s Quaker Green neighborhood were saddened Monday to learn that Maimuna Anyene, her four young children, and her husband, were among the 153 passengers and crew killed in Sunday’s crash of a Dana Air plane in Lagos, Nigeria. "We’re all very sad. The whole community is very tight knit. I saw her leave with her husband and all four kids, going to her brother’s wedding," said Elyse Fox, who lived next door to Anyene. Anyene and her children lived on Park Place Circle. Her husband worked in Nigeria, neighbours said, but returned to West Hartford every few months and was travelling back to Nigeria with the family to attend Anyene’s brother’s wedding.
A bouquet of yellow tulips had been left on the front doorstep Monday afternoon.
"I’d see her with her kids, and she seemed like a very nice person," said Keith Elis, of 32 Park Place Circle, who also has a preschool-age child. Elis said that his mother, who babysits for his daughter, knew Anyene better because the kids would sometimes play together. "She was always smiling; I don’t know how she did it," Elis said.
Elis said that word of the family’s death in the crash spread through the neighborhood Sunday night after a neighbour found Anyene’s name on the passenger list.
Anyene had lived in her townhouse, in Elmwood’s newly-developed Quaker Green condominium complex, for several years. According to the Hartford Courant, she was a human resources manager for United Technologies who worked in the Gold Building in Hartford.
Residents describe the neighborhood as very community-oriented, where neighbours immediately reach out to meet newcomers. Anyene’s family would socialise by the pool, and come to neighborhood parties, they said.
"I knew her as a neighbour, from being out playing with the kids," said Lisa Ohayon, who has a two-year-old grandchild. "They were going to be moving, and that alone devastated the neighborhood. Six people gone – it just doesn’t make sense," she said.
Lisa Ohayon and her husband John said Anyene’s children were cared for during the day by an aunt and another family member while Anyene worked full time. "The twins were so cute, always dressed the same, and the aunt used to carry them on her back," Lisa Ohayon said.
Another neighbour, Tagen Gonzalez, believed Anyene’s mother and perhaps at least one other relative were also on the plane. Gonzalez, also the mother of a preschooler, said Anyene’s oldest child was just about four, the twin daughters would have been two in July, and the baby was about six months old.
"Her kids were always happy. This community is close, and this is surreal," Fox said.
Gonzalez said that she has already contacted United Technologies and is hoping to do something to formally honour the memory of the family.
Reports indicate that all 153 people on board the plane were killed when it crashed into a densely-populated neighborhood in Lagos, Nigeria, on Sunday. An unknown number of people on the ground also perished.
The cause of the crash is under investigation. CNN reported that the plane was 22 years old. According to the Christian Science Monitor, Nigerian law bans aircrafts older than 20 years of age.