Contradiction mars plane crash death toll
By Nema Juma
Cracks are emerging on the number of passengers reported to have perished after the plane crash in Juba on Saturday.
Reports earlier indicated that the passengers were all males, the only victims of the ill-fated Cargo flight.
Speaking on the state Television, South Sudan Broadcasting Corporation (SSBC), the Minister of Transport, Madut Biar Yel said that the figures given were contradicting as there was a body of the female victim in the mortuary, while the number of calls are being received from the relatives of the people who perished in the plane crash.
The Minister came out strongly after formation of the investigation committee tasked to investigate the crash which is believed to have been carrying more passengers that were not included in the manifest as required by the international aviation law governing all flights worldwide.
Biar said that there is contradiction in the information on the actual number of the passengers, adding that the names of some passengers were not indicated in the manifest.
“The number of the people on board where eight (8) but it appears now that there were more people that have been found to be on board and this is also a mistake we are going to investigate the airport because the manifest from the company made it clear that they are eight (8) but on board some units went and forced their people on board and that is why the company was complaining that we don’t know their names,” Biar said.
He revealed that some people have been trying to call him, informing him about their relatives who perished in the cargo flight giving out their names, but when “I crosschecked with the manifest of the company those names were not there”.
He also stated that some properties appeared in the initial investigation now but they were not in the manifest and up to now we have eight bodies in the mortuary some are identified by their relatives and some are burnt beyond recognition.
“There are some names that are contradicting but the committee will identify those names because right now the list that I have did not mention a body of the female but in the mortuary there is the body of the female, which is not in the manifest of the company. So we are going to recover the black box and this black box will be sent to the manufacturer to analyze the details,” he added.
On Saturday, a cargo plane that belonged to the South West Company crashed and left eight people dead and one person in critical condition.
Earlier this week, President Salva Kiir instructed the Minister of Transport to ensure International standards of the air travel are safely and correctly followed.
“I am instructing the Ministry of Transport along with the aviation Authority to adhere to international standards on the operation of the aircrafts when assessing airworthy of the plane to operate in South Sudan. There have been too many air accidents in the country and it cannot be business as usual when it comes to safety of air travelers, because lives are at stake,” cautioned the statement.