National Times (Yaounde) – A top Kenyan Airways (KQ) official has revealed in a profound review of the May 2007 crash in Douala how the East African top airliner mismanaged the crash.
According to Dan Okwiri, head of Cargo Management and Logistics at Kenya Airways at the time, after the crash, due to absence of the infrastructure in Douala and poor managerial decision from their headquarters in Nairobi, the company hired a South African company whose name he did not disclose to manage the crash.
The said South African company made mainly of Boers were racists, incompetent, and failed to manage and repatriate remains of victims of the crash.
On the 5th of May 2007, Kenya Airways Flight 507 crashed immediately after take off from Douala International Airport in Cameroon. The plane had broken up into small pieces and came to rest mostly submerged in a mangrove swamp with no survivors and 114 fatalities, including 6 KQ crew.
There was a huge inferno as the aircraft crashed into the marsh and almost everything & everyone was incinerated to charcoal. Many people were never found and the rest were reduced to incinerated body parts. The body parts identified through DNA. It was an unspeakable scene.
According to Dan, immediately after the crash “KQ…appointed an international firm based in South Africa whose core business is evacuation and repatriation of human remains after accidents”.
The South African company’s job was to gather an inventory of the human remains and then send samples to Europe for DNA analysis and identification. The X-team then hired a refrigerated truck with a container and a generator to power it, as electricity is unreliable in Doula. The human remains that were recovered were stored in the refrigerated truck container and the generator would be on for 6 months throughout the period.
Dan revealed that, the South African company failed to do its job because they were very racists. “X-team consisted mostly of South African Boers who had serious racist attitudes towards other coloured Africans. These were men and women who had not grown past the apartheid attitudes and practises with the legal racist divide having been discarded in South Africa just less than a decade before the crash”.
Six months after hiring the South African company, the company was still to do its operations, so top officials at Kenya Airways appointed Dan to travel to Cameroon to help repatriate the corps.
When he got to Cameroon, he found out that “The X team were staying at an exclusive quaint hotel which was decorated extensively with African curios, furniture, masks and art. I would later learn it belonged to a Belgian couple. They were a large group of 8-10 people and used one of the hotel rooms as an office. Walking in, the first thing that got my attention was the sheer number of empty whiskey, vodka and gin bottles. Probably 3 empty cartons of the same. Somebody clearly was having a ball and all this was at KQ expense! I was horrified”.
You can read the full article by Dan Okwiri here.