53 Passengers Escape Death On Board Smoky AMCON Managed Aero Aircraft
… As Airplane Makes Emergency Landing In Lagos
Fifty Three passengers on board embattled Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) managed Aero aircraft flying from Port Harcourt to Lagos yesterday escaped death by the grace of God, when smoke suddenly emerged from the cargo area of flight NG316 causing panic and shout of Jesus and Allah on board by the highly frightened passengers.
The airline that has been struggling for survival after the takeover by AMCON, who was recently accused of cannibalising one aircraft to repair the other, is facing a serious challenge as its passenger volume has dropped due to very low patronage.
A source, who spoke to Abelnewsng.com on the condition of anonymity, said that passengers were praying for God to intervene when the smoke from the cargo section took over the entire cabin thereby throwing the passengers into state of intense panic.
The source added that while some passengers were shouting Jesus, others were shouting Allah, as they were not sure of what was going to happen next.
Some passengers were said to have rushed to the toilet but were forced to rush back as they could not withstand the smoke.
An amateur video taken by one of the passengers showed vividly what transpired on board the troubled Port Harcourt –Lagos flight.
Reacting, the Media Consultant to AMCON on Aero, Mr Simon Tumba in an embellished online statement titled, “Aero Flight NG316 Landed Safely, Investigation Ongoing” said, “Unlike the stories being spread on social media, the management of Aero has explained that flight NG316, which departed Port Harcourt airport on April 18, 2017 at 1608GMT, enroute Lagos, with 52 adults +1 infant on board. They also commended the Pilot and the entire crew for the professionalism they displayed in handling the situation. There have been different accounts of the incidents with some claiming that the smoke came from the baggage compartment while other allude to all manner of unverified claims. But the management of Aero said it regrets any inconveniences the incident might have caused its esteemed passengers and assured it will get to the root cause of the matter.”
He said that the management of the almost dead airline has ordered investigation into the incident.
According to him, “Although the Management led by Capt. Ado Sanusi, Chief Executive Officer of Aero has ordered for full scale investigation into the incident, preliminary reports has it that at 1645 GMT about 75NM to Lagos at 24,00ft, the cabin crew observed that the cabin was misty. This was reported to the Captain, who briefed the passengers accordingly assuring them of a safe landing in Lagos in a couple of minutes.”
He stated that, expectedly as announced by the pilot, normal descent was initiated into Lagos, adding that while descending however, a passenger went into the lavatory, after which the lavatory smoke detector alarm came on. And that the cabin crew again reported this incident to the Captain and by this time the smoke was getting denser in the cabin.
According to the statement, “Ready and armed with “Aft Cargo Smoke” indication in the flight deck, the crew carried out the smoke dispersal procedures and contacted air traffic control at 1655GMT, requesting for emergency support services and proceeded to Lagos, which is the airport with the full complement of emergency support. At this stage again, the cabin crew reassured the passengers and handed out wet towels to them as a precautionary measure for such incidents.”
“The Captain also announced to the passengers to be calm as the smoke in question did not present any irritation or discomfort. The aircraft landed at 1703 GMT without any incident. Although the company engineers had carried out the routine systems checks, and reported all normal, Capt. Sanusi who has also reported the incident to the appropriate authorities in the country said another round of thorough investigation was ongoing” The statement said.