About nine families of the 153 persons who died in the June 3 Dana air crash, Tuesday collected part payment as compensation from the airline as stipulated by the conventions guiding the aviation sector.
The payment also came on a day the airline received completed insurance forms for 68 victims, four of which were members of staff of the company and had been submitted for verification.
Also, the airline presented cheques Tuesday to the displaced residents of Iju-Ishaga, an outskirt of Lagos, who were affected by the crash as part of efforts to ensure their proper rehabilitation.
Confirming the payment, Dana Head of Corporate Communications, Mr. Tony Usidamen, said the airline was fully aware of the mandatory requirement by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), for interim benefits to be paid to the families of the victims within 30 days of the accident.
Accordingly, he said the airline’s lead underwriter in Nigeria had begun the compensation process by issuing interim benefit cheques to nine claimants yesterday, following the legal verification of their documentation and next of kin status.
While advising claimants to come to the chambers of Yomi Oshikoya & Co, appointed by the insurers in Lagos, in order to conclude advance payment formalities, Usidamen however said the airline was in contact with all other families who have submitted relevant documents to the airline’s Crisis Management Centre (CMC) in Lagos and Abuja. Admitting that some of the bereaved families were yet to come to submit their document because they were still mourning, the airline said advance payment claims would be concluded on case by case basis as at when claimants find it convenient to come forward. He said: “We appreciate that the statutory payments cannot compensate for any of the precious lives lost in the accident but we hope that it will lessen the pains of the families knowing that they are not alone in these extremely difficult times.
“Dana Air shares in the pains of the affected families and continues to offer every form of assistance required by the hospital management and overseas laboratory to ensure that the process is completed as soon as possible, so that the families can lay their loved ones to rest.
“Depending on the update from the Chief Medical Director of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Prof Wale Oke, on Monday, more DNA samples have been collected and will be sent to the United Kingdom for testing shortly.”
While noting that investigations are ongoing, he said the airline will continue to co-operate fully with and offer all support to the investigating authorities. However when contacted, Mr. Mike Uchegbu, who lost his brother, Chukwuebuka, in the crash said he was not aware of any compensation by the airline, neither could he identify any other family that has been paid.
He said: “I don’t know if people were compensated as the airline is claiming because my family did not receive any payment from them. They cannot say we have not finished documentation because everything required document is with them.
“You just informed me that nine families have been compensated but what is that minute number compared to the higher number of persons that dies in the crash? By law, the families are supposed to be compensated within 30 days and yesterday marked a month of the crash.”