15 Injured As Aero Makes Emergency Landing in Lagos

Published on Tuesday 26th October 2010

About 15 people were injured yesterday when flight AJ 320 with 84 passengers, an infant and five crew members from Port Harcourt to Lagos suffered a technical hitch and the pilot ordered the passengers to evacuate.

THISDAY learnt from passengers aboard the Boeing 737-500, owned by Aero Contractors, that when the aircraft was about to land, there was low pressure that was so deafening that many of the passengers stood from their seats and children were crying.

They said smoke was emitting from the cabin of the aircraft, prompting passengers to panic and run helter-skelter, which led to the injury sustained by some of them.

The aircraft landed at the domestic wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos around 6.30pm, but due to the incident, the passengers' luggage was not made available till about 8.30pm.

Moses Alex, one of the passengers on board the flight, said the flight scheduled for 4.00pm was delayed for about one hour in Port Harcourt because there was a presidential movement.

According to him, "As the aircraft was approaching the airport for landing and everybody was seated and fastened their seat belts, we just saw a huge smoke coming out from the cockpit into the cabin."

He said the cabin crew tried to manage the situation "but when they realized perhaps that the situation was out of control, they told us to be prepared for emergency landing and speedy evacuation. We just noticed that the bellowing of the smoke was becoming stronger. So immediately we saw the exits opened, passengers started jumping out from all directions".Alex narrated that a lady who jumped down thinking that the aircraft would explode, injured her waist as she hit the floor.

"You can see that I too sustained injury on my legs," he said.Aero confirmed the incident, but stated that the airline was able to successfully evacuate all the passengers on board.

"An incident occurred this evening on flight AJ 320 from Port Harcourt to Lagos when a smoke was detected in the cabin. Aero was able to successfully evacuate all 84 passengers, an infant and five crew members as the B737-500 aircraft landed at the Murtala Mohammed International airport, Lagos at 6.15 pm local time.

"The airline with officials of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authorities has been invited to investigate the cause of the incident," the management of the airline said.

Also when contacted, the Director-General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren, confirmed the incident and said evacuation had been ordered and explained that what was seen was not smoke but mist that was released from the air condition valve.

According to him, investigation into the causes of the incident had already started. "Yes, Aero was involved in an incident this evening in Lagos, which led to emergency evacuation, but there is no loss of lives," he said.


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