92 Persons Escape Death in Aero Plane Mishap
Eighty-seven passengers and five crew members escaped death yesterday when a Boeing 737-500 aircraft belonging to Aero Contractors faltered while attempting to land at the Jos Airport.
The aircraft, with registration number: 5N BLE, which was on a scheduled flight service from Lagos to Jos, skidded off the runway while landing due to wet surface. But the aircraft lost its two nose wheels in the process, while the passengers were evacuated immediately.
Confirming the incident, the airline’s spokesman, Mr. Deba Uwadiae, said in a statement last night that: “Aero aircraft, a Boeing 737-500 with registration number 5N-BLE on a scheduled flight from Lagos to the Jos Airport on Saturday August 21,2010 had its two nose tyres punctured on landing on the runway at about 6pm.
“This led to handling difficulties by the pilot who, however, controlled the aircraft safely without any damage. All the passengers on board were safely disembarked from the aircraft.
“The Head of Flight Operations, Captain Akin George, said that ‘Aero has promptly dispatched engineers to the airport to fix the tyres while it awaits officials of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA to inspect the aircraft before returning it to flight’,” he said.
Uwadiae also said that there were no issues on the air worthiness of the plane as “The Boeing 737-500 aircraft recently returned from a C-Check abroad.”
Commenting on the accident, Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren, said the aircraft faltered while about to land because of low-level wind shear and overshot the runway, as its left landing gear stuck in the mud, losing a tyre in the process.
“Aero aircraft encountered a low-level wind shear, which led the left side tyre to go into flame and the aircraft to over-shoot the runway. There was no casualty.”
Demuren said everything was under control as all concerned aviation agency officials were on hand to assess the incident.
According to eye witness account, it was difficult for the aircraft to land and when it did it nearly caught fire but firemen were on hand to put it off. Since the aircraft landed, all the passengers and airport officials did not leave the scene of incident and the passengers were yet to disembark from the aircraft.
General Manager, Public Affairs of FAAN, Akin Olukunle, also confirmed the incident and referred newsmen to NCAA for the details of the near crash.