Kano Emir, many passengers escape death as Max Air develops engine failure minutes after take-off

Many air passengers, including the Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado-Bayero, escaped death by whiskers as Kano-Abuja Max Air aircraft developed engine failure, 10 minutes after take-off from the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, MAKIA.

Our Correspondent  gathered that the Max Air plane with the number VM1645 which was slated for take-off 1.30pm had about a 30minutes delay. The aircraft later took off around 2:00pm with passengers filled to the brim.

It was gathered that 10 minutes after the take-off, the aircraft began to swerve around the air until it made a detour for an emergency landing. Sources said the incident was allegedly caused by an engine failure, just as others attributed the incident to a bird strike.

Narrating the incident, one of the passengers, Dr Samaila Suleiman, said it was a near-death incident, accusing the airliner of negligence. Mr Sulaiman disclosed that he heard a strange sound when the aircraft was taking off but dismissed any strange feeling of insecurity.

He said: “I heard a strange sound during the take-off but brushed it aside. I have used aircraft many times but had never heard such a sound during take-off. “The cabin crew members and the pilot were helpless because they apparently lost control of the aircraft.

“No even that radio announcement was made until we saw ourselves back at the airport where we took off. “It was a near-death experience. I and many other passengers were traumatised. Many of us cancelled to trip and returned home.”

Max Air is yet to speak on the matter at the time of filing this report.

In a related development, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) on Tuesday commended the action of Aero Contractors Pilot for returning to base after encountering birds’ strike shortly after it took off.

Its Director-General, Capt. Musa Nuhu, describing the pilot’s action as “highly professional’’ told newsmen in Lagos, that the pilot took off at the Port Harcourt International Airport (PHIA), Megwa, for Abuja.

It would be recalled that the Aero Contractors aircraft departed PHIA on Monday for Abuja, with 91 souls onboard comprising 85 passengers and six crew members at 2:06 p.m, but returned to base at 2:14 p.m.

Nuhu explained that the aircraft, a Boeing 737-500 with the registration number 5N-BKR, was heading to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, before the incident on Monday afternoon.

The director-general said that the pilot made a circuit and returned to base within eight minutes after the incident, maintaining that the action of the pilot was in order.

Nuhu said the incident led to the damage of the aircraft’s blade, adding that the airline’s engineers were currently fixing the damaged part of the aircraft.

He explained further that the airline brought another aircraft to transport the passengers to Abuja within 90 minutes of the incident.

According to him, the damaged part of the aircraft was undergoing repairs in Port Harcourt.

Nuhu said that maintenance was going on to fix the damaged blade and when they finished, NCAA inspectors would inspect and certify it.

He said this was to know if all the parameters such as engines, blades and others were okay, before the aircraft would be released for flight.

Nuhu, however, said that no life was at risk as a result of the incident.

Similarly, the Assistant Manager, Operations, Port Harcourt International Airport, Mr Kunle Akinbode attributed the aborted flight to bird strike.

He debunked a rumoured emergency landing of the flight, saying that bird strike was a common experience in the aviation industry.

“Yesterday, May 17, an Aero Contractors flight enroute Port Harcourt – Abuja at about 10 am was affected by a bird strike leading to a delay.

“ The affected aircraft has three engines, so in the course of taking off, a bird got stocked in one of the engines and this is called a bird strike in the aviation industry.

“This is a common experience anywhere in the world, its not peculiar to Nigeria,” he said.

According to him, it’s impossible to prevent birds from flying in the airspace.

“They can only be techically chased away to help reduce them in the air site.

“ When the pilot noticed that one of the aircraft engines had packed up because a bird was stocked in it, he had to make an air return not an emergency landing as was widely rumoured.

“An emergency landing is when a pilot experiences an accident threatening situation, in this case all protocols are usually ruled out to pave way for a quick landing.

“So an emergency landing is quite different from an air return. Nevertheless, if he chose to proceed, those two engines would have taken him to Abuja but for safety reasons, he chose to return,” Akinbode explained.

He also said that once an engine entraps a bird, it certainly takes an expert to rectify the situation, adding that at about 4pm same day, affected passangers were reassigned another aircraft.

The airport official, however, expressed worry over rumours making rounds on the internet.

“Sadly passangers and some social media users have since been posting diverse views and information on a seemingly controlled issue.

“I really don’t blame the passengers because they where not properly briefed by the flight officials, which to me, was very necessary,” he added










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