A potential plane crash in Nigeria was averted on Friday as an Arik Air aircraft lost one of its two engines mid-air with over 100 passengers on board.
The aircraft, a Boeing 737 with the registration number 5N-MJD, SaharaReporters learnt, departed from Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, for Jos when the pilot discovered that the plane had lost one of its engines during the flight.
A source close to the airline told our correspondent that the aircraft was already 60 miles away from Lagos before the incident occurred.
Immediately after the pilot discovered the problem, he contacted the Lagos control tower, which granted him emergency landing status.
Passengers panicked when they were informed that the aircraft would return to Lagos, SaharaReporters gathered.
Upon landing in Lagos, it was gathered that the aircraft could not taxi out of the runway and it took the intervention of the Airport Rescue and Fire-Fighting Services (ARFFS), a department in the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), to tow the aircraft to the hajj and cargo terminal area of the airport in order for the passengers to disembark from the aircraft.
“The incident occurred at noon on Friday. The aircraft had departed Lagos for Jos, but barely a few minutes into the journey, the pilot radioed the Lagos control tower that it needed to return to base,” a source from the airline told SaharaReporters.
“When the control tower heard this, they approved the pilot for emergency landing, which he did successfully. The aircraft had to be towed out of the runway by the ARFFS because it could not move again.”
A source in the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) said the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) was yet to report the incident to the bureau for further investigation.
“As an investigator, I can tell you that I am not aware of this development. AIB should be the one to decide any occurrence if it feels that the industry can gain any safety value from it,” the source said.
“There had been complaints that the NCAA does not notify us at times when there is an incident. It is by law that we should be notified in case of any incident. The AIB Commissioner is empowered by law to investigate any occurrence in the sector,” he explained.
Similarly, a source in the NCAA said that the regulatory body was yet to be informed about the incident, stressing that it was a reportable issue.
The cause of the incident remains unknown at the time of publication.
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