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Crash-landing: Passengers stranded over closure of Abuja Airport runway

Air Travellers at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, FCT

*The Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport runway has been temporarily shut until the evacuation of a Max Air aircraft, carrying 144 passengers and six crew members from Yola, in Adamawa State, that crash-landed at the airport Sunday is evacuated

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Sequel to the clash-landing of Nigerian-owned Max Air aircraft, carrying 144 passengers and six crew members from Yola, in Adamawa State, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, FCT, several air travellers were left stranded at airports across the country.

ConsumerConnect learnt the closure of the Abuja Airport runway after the aviation incident in which the aircraft crash-landed with its tyres reportedly burst into flames Sunday, had affected the passengers coming into or leaving Abuja.

Report indicates one of the passengers stranded in Kano who commented through his twitter handle @Kalifarabiu tweeted, “Max Air crash-lands in Abuja Airport.

“The planes tyres are reported to have burst into flames upon landing on the tarmac.

“All flights to Abuja have either been canceled or delayed.

“I myself am currently stranded in the Aminu Kano Airport with no news from the airline after canceling yesterday’s flight without notifying us. No texts, no emails.”

Mohammed Jammal, another passenger @whitenigerian, was quoted to have stated: “A plane crash-landed at Abuja Airport after the tyre blew up after takeoff from Yola.

“All passengers are safe and have been disembarked. Alhamdulilah.”

Aliyu Gidado @allyhanson, in his tweet, noted: “Why will Abuja, the capital city, have only one runway for God’s sake? Upon the billions spent at that airport.

“Now, Max Air crash landed, and it has blocked the runway. Flights aren’t landing or taking off.  Does this make sense at all?”

Still Chibuike Ejikeme @Chbyk228, tweeted: “I am actually here live waiting to board an aircraft back to Lagos but now this….

“It is very unfortunate that Almighty Abuja Airport that is over 40 years old has only one runway.

Who did offend as human beings living in this space called Nigeria?”

How Max Air airplane crash-landed at NAIA

It was gathered the aircraft had arrived in Abuja from Yola, Adamawa State capital, when the incident happened at about 2:50p.m.

One of the investigators of the incident disclosed to Leadership “the aircraft, B737, with Aircraft Reg. No. 5N-MBD crash-landed at about 2:50p.m.

“The cause of incident is suspected to be faulty engine and burst of landing gears and the number of passengers on board is 144 and six crew members.”

Dr. Mike Ogirima, ex-President of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), who also gave an account of the incident, reportedly related how the tyre burst occurred after takeoff at Yola Airport.

However, the aircraft crash-landed in Abuja with emergency officials already on the ground to put off the fire before the passengers disembarked right at the runway, report said.

Ogirima stated: “We thank God. We are still on the runway and the pilot has reassured us.

“He has called for the stairs and we are now disembarking from the runway to be evacuated to the airport building at the arrival hall.”

He also said: “We bless God because we had witnessed the pull-out of the tyre right from the airport in Yola and we went into prayer session.

“I never announced it so as not to cause any panic, but we bless God.”

Also speaking on the crash-landing, Sam Hart, a former aide to Governor of  Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, tweeted: “Airline (name withheld) had an emergency landing at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

“Everyone is fine. Flights out of Abuja airport delayed for hours as arrangements are being made to evacuate the aircraft from the tarmac. Good afternoon.”

Meanwhile, the runway has been temporarily shut until the evacuation of the aircraft.

The Aerodrome Rescue and Fire-fighting Service (ARFFS) that operates at the airport was swiftly mobilised to put out the fire during the incident Sunday.

Tunji Oketunbi, General Manager, Public Affairs, Nigeria Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB), said the staff of the agency also, had gone to the site of the incident for investigation.

An official of Max Air aviation company, who confirmed the incident but pleaded anonymity said the passengers all safely disembarked, report said. The personnel also expressed gratitude to God for the safety of all the passengers and crew members aboard the aircraft at the time of the incident.

On government’s N92.123billion for construction of second Abuja runway

It is recalled the Federal Government, March 2022, had approved N92.123 billion for the construction of a second runway at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.

Sen. Hadi Sirika, Honourable Minister for aviation, who announced the development at the time, also stated that the runway would be completed before May 29 this year.

The Minister reportedly noted that the entire sum allocated to the runway construction would be spread over a number of projects billed for attention at the airport.

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