GALLERY: Church collapse survivors land in SA


22 September - A plane carrying 25 South Africans injured in the Nigerian building collapse arrived this morning. The plane was met on the tarmac by medical staff and ambulances.

TSHWANE - Twenty five South Africans travelling a chartered plane landed at a military air force base in Tshwane on Monday, September 22. 

A special adapted C130 Hercules, equipped to treat passengers in need of medical care, flew them from Lagos to Tshwane. 

On arrival, government officials instructed press to stand back and not identify the survivors, in respect for their privacy.

Twelve ambulances waited to transport survivors, some of whom were in stretchers. They were accompanied by a motorcade including police and military vehicles.

After the aircraft landed, military personnel offloaded luggage and medical supplies that had been on board the craft.

The 25 passengers survived the collapse of a guest house on the property of TB Joshua&39;s The Synagogue Church of All Nations on Friday, September 12.

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe led an inter-ministerial task team coordinating rescue efforts to bring the surviving pilgrims back to South Africa.

They were transported from Swartkop Air Force Base to Steve Biko Academic Hospital, where some of them were reuinited with anxious relatives.

Radebe told reporters that three of those on board the chartered flight had undergone amputations. He said a fourth survivor had gangrene and was due to have toes amputated at the South African hospital.

Three of the passengers returning to South Africa were children, two of them siblings who were orphaned by the disaster

By Monday afternoon there were reports that 115 people were dead but Radebe said that forensic teams were gathering DNA to confirm how many of those dead were definitely South African citizens.

He said an aircraft was on standby to transport the bodies of the deceased from Nigeria to South Africa.

On Sunday, September 21 the popular religious leader TB Joshua announced his plan to visit South Africa and meet congregants there.

"We thank God for the martyrs and we pray for the family members and loved ones left behind," read a statement of condolence on the church&39;s official website.

The Synagogue maintains the building collapse is an attack on the church and its leader. Statements from the church highlight the presence of an aircraft overhead before the collapse.

The church property site is close to Lagos International Airport.