A major air disaster was averted on Friday evening with over 120 passengers escaping death when an Aero Contractors Airline Flight 180 from Lagos to Kaduna developed technical fault mid-air.The Director, Muslim Rights Concern, Prof. Ishaq Akintola,who was on the flight broke the news to New Mail .
The aircraft was said to have suddenly lost altitude, 20 minutes after it departed the domestic wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, forcing the aircraft to wobble in the air for over one hour before it was eventually diverted to Abuja.
“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.”“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.In fact, I quickly recited the Kalimah (the Quranic invocation of the oneness of Allah), believing that the end had come,” Akintola added in messages to New Mail.
According to him,the plane finally touched down in Abuja at about 9.00pm.He continued
“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.”
A statement by the airline read,
“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.”