Over 120 passengers escaped the pangs of death when an Aero Contractors Airline Flight 180 from Lagos to Kaduna developed a technical fault mid-air on Friday, June 5. According to media reports, the aircraft suddenly lost altitude 20 minutes after its departure from the domestic wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.
This sudden loss of altitude forced the aircraft to wobble continuously in the air for over an hour before it was diverted to Abuja.
Director, Muslim Rights Concern, Prof. Ishaq Akintola, who was aboard the flight said:
“While the pilot was making the announcement of the flight diversion, I noticed that his voice was trembling. He told us that Abuja was 120 miles away and that we would land in 25 minutes. But we were not sure we would make it.
“The plane lost altitude 20 minutes after takeoff. We had to make use of the oxygen masks. We saw smoke outside the plane, probably coming from the engine compartment.
“At this time, the whole plane was thrown into commotion. Many passengers screamed and some fainted. Prayers upon prayers were offered. Some shouted Allah, others Jesus.”
“In fact, I quickly recited the Kalimah (the Quranic invocation of the oneness of Allah), believing that the end had come”
“As I am talking to you, I am now in a taxi taking me to Kaduna. They said they wanted to repair the plane and that we should wait so it takes us to Kaduna. Allah forbids. They asked how many of us wanted to disembark and almost everybody came out.”
“When the aircraft wanted to land in Abuja, the tyres failed to come out on time and that again caused more commotion among passengers. At last, we landed at about 7.35, about 50 minute of trauma mid-air.”
Aero contractors has since released a statement about the incident:
“Aero confirms that there was depressurisation in the aircraft cabin leading to the dropping of oxygen mask. And since Aero has a maintenance facility in Abuja, the flight to Kaduna was diverted to Abuja this evening to fix the problem.”