Lagos ready to release bodies of DANA crash victims to relatives

DANA Air plane crash site

Ben Ezeamalu

Following the outcome of the DNA tests ordered on the remains of the victims of the DANA Air crash in June, the Lagos State government said that the bodies are ready for collection.

Jide Idris, the state Commissioner for Health, disclosed this, Wednesday, at a meeting with the relatives of the deceased at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja (LASUTH).

“We have got some of the results of the DNA analysis from the UK. The experts have revealed the results and we felt it necessary to brief the victims on the processes and documentation needed to claim the bodies,” said Dr. Idris.

“We will release the bodies in batches of 20 in alphabetical order daily from Thursday, to reduce the chaos and to resolve some legal processes needed to claim the bodies,” he added.

Relatives were advised to come to the Lekan Ogunshola Memorial House, in the hospital premises, with relevant documents to identify their bodies.

Names of already identified victims would be pasted at the hospital.

Sixteen other bodies are still being “processed,” John Obafunwa, Chief Medical Examiner, said.

Mr. Obafunwa said that the bodies would be released to the victims’ next of kins – priority given to spouses, children, parents, siblings, half brothers and sisters, grandparents, nephews and nieces in that order.

“The next of kin is in this order and they have to present legal documents before the bodies would be released to them,” said Mr. Obafunwa, a professor of Forensic Pathology and

“But, in the case where the next of kin is not available, he or she has to authorize someone else to collect the body with appropriate identification,” he added.

“The authorized person has to come with the driver’s licence, national identity card, international passport and letter of authorization by the next of kin.”

Most of the victims of the crash were burnt beyond recognition and government had to conduct the tests to avoid releasing wrong bodies to relatives.

Testifying at the inquest into the causes of the June 3 crash, John Obafunwa, Chief Medical Examiner at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, had promised on July 25 that the test results of the DNA tests carried out for unidentifiable bodies would be available last week.

That did not happen and some relatives were agitated.

“We asked for samples from parents, siblings, and offsprings. These are what we’d use to compare victims’ DNA profile and confirm the identity,” Mr. Obafunwa had said.

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