An aircraft engine packed up shortly before take-off at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos. The early morning Abuja-bound Aero Contractors plane was set for take-off at 6:45am when the flight was aborted because one of the engines had stopped working. There was panic inside the aircraft whose door had been locked in readiness for take-off. A woman shouted for the door to be opened for her to disembark. A pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Olumide Adeleye, who was aboard the plane, relived the experience in Abuja yesterday.
He said: “We had already boarded the plane scheduled for 6:45am. It was filled to capacity, ready for take-off when the pilot announced that one of the engines had packed up. Therewas panic, but people also thanked God that the engine did not fail in the air.
“A woman was just shouting ‘please open this door before I break it!’. I was travelling with my wife and within me I was saying, ‘God it is not my portion and that of my wife to die’. I immediately remembered the Dana crash that happened, also on a Sunday. “The Murtala Muhammed International Airport , Lagos, was thrown into confusion as some passengers were contemplating on refund of money.
Even when another airline was ready to fly, passengers were insisting that the authority must properly check the plane, test-run it, before take-off. “I booked the 6:45am flight so as to get early to church as the pastor of my parish in Abuja, to preach and preside over the thanksgiving service and dedicate a set of twins, which I did.
“I thank God for a successful journey back to Abuja. I was just imagining what people would have been telling my children about their father and mother.” The airline said the action of the pilot was in order. A spokesman of the airline, Mr. Simon Tumba yesterday said as a safety curious carrier, the airline withdrew the aircraft to safeguard the interest of the passengers and crew. Tumba said such precautionary steps were necessary for the safety of the passengers and crew, which is part of the routine in the safety measures at the disposal of the airline.
Culled from The Nation