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50 Lawmakers in Averted Air Crashes

Posted by By Habeeb I. Pindiga & Mohammed S. Shehu on 2006/01/18 | Views: 583 |

50 Lawmakers in Averted Air Crashes


About fifty members of the House of Representatives and Senate Committee on Appropriation, on Sunday were aboard the averted air mishap involving an Abuja via Lagos ADC flight 072 and a Chanchangi Abuja-bound plane.

About fifty members of the House of Representatives and Senate Committee on Appropriation, on Sunday were aboard the averted air mishap involving an Abuja via Lagos ADC flight 072 and a Chanchangi Abuja-bound plane.

The lawmakers were returning from a retreat in Calabar, Cross River state, when the ADC airliner was said to have had engine problems few minutes after take off from the Calabar Airport, but the pilot mano-euvred to reach Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.

In Lagos, the legislators changed to a Chanchangi plane on 3.30pm scheduled flight to Abuja which also developed engine problems mid-air and spent about 80 minutes to arrive Abuja, a journey that normally takes fifty minutes.

Others on the plane were the Accountant General of the federation, Alhaji Ibrahim Dankwambo and officials of the finance ministry.

But Chanchangi airlines yesterday said no such problem occurred.

Two of the House mem-bers involved, Hons. Usman Balkore and Mohammed Kabir Umar, recounted to Daily Trust yesterday how the two aircrafts nearly crashed.

According to Balkore, "We boarded a 12.30 pm ADC plane to Abuja to stopover at Lagos. Sometimes after take off, the aircraft started making a loud noise. When we reached Ibadan, it lost altitude, then it regained altitude and started jerking. At a point, we flew at a dangerously low altitude. In Lagos, where we were supp-osed to have a brief stopover, we spent a long time waiting. We saw that they opened the aircraft engine. They did not communicate with us, but we heard that something had burst in the engine. We were forced to leave that plane and patronise Chanchangi flight scheduled for 3.30pm.

"But it was like moving from frying pan to fire. This Chanchangi plane, when it came to Lisa (Ogun state), the engine started banging. They told us that they would go to 33, 000 feet above sea level but this was unusual for domestic flights. And they did not explain to us what was happening. They just said they were flying at that height. Now, before we got to Ibadan, the plane jerked five times. Soon they swit-ched off the air conditioning system. And this too was an indication that something was seriously wrong. A colleague, an aviation expert, told me that when the air-conditioning system of a plane is switched off, it means the engine has developed problems. Somehow they managed to bring us to Abuja but after about one hour fifteen minutes, a journey of 50 minutes."

Umar confirmed this and said they were surprised that despite the action said to have been taken in the aviation industry, faulty aircrafts were still flying the nation's air space risking people's lives.

Chanchangi's sales manager in Abuja, Alhaji Yusuf Dan Hassan, claimed ignorance of the incident. He told Daily Trust that none of their planes was involved in any such incident on Sunday.

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