Another major air disaster was on Tuesday, averted when an Arik plane made an emergency landing in Ghana after smoke was detected in the cabin.
The incident involved a fully-loaded Ghana-bound Dash 8 NextGen propeller aircraft with registration number, W3304 Stephen.
It was gathered that no sooner than 35 minutes after the plane took off from the Muritala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos for Accra, Ghanaian capital than smoke started coming out from the cabin.
One of the passengers onboard the aircraft disclosed that there was confusion in the plane as air hostesses were busy scampering around, opening the cabins and the lavatories to check if they could trace the source of the smoke without success.
According to the thankful passenger, “While that continued, the oxygen masks that were always being advertised during the safety demo prior to take-off couldn’t be released instead we were handed tissue papers (otherwise called serviets) to use to cover our noses to minimize and filter out possible carbon monoxide inhalation.
“About 5 minutes after, precisely with 15 minutes of flight time remaining, the pilot came on the public address system to inform us that they have smoke coming into the cabin and that they don’t know the source and that they have declared emergency”.
“To the glory of God, the flight successfully landed by 8.15pm (7.15pm Accra time) to the waiting of several fire service trucks at Kotoko International airport, Accra.
“We were evacuated into a waiting bus with instruction to leave everything behind in the cabin. Sadly there was no Arik official to address us neither was there any manner of first aid attention given to the passengers to manage stress and possible elevated blood pressures,” the passenger lamented.
Confirming the incident via a statement, the airline said no-one was hurt during the incident.
The statement reads: “Arik Air flight W3 304 from Lagos to Accra on March 6, 2018 declared an emergency in line with standard operating procedures, when unknown source of smoke was detected in the cabin 81 miles from Accra.
“The captain of the flight briefed the passengers accordingly assuring them that the aircraft was under control and safe for landing in Accra.
“The aircraft, a Dash 8 Q400, landed safely in Accra without further incident and all passengers disembarked normally.
“The aircraft is currently parked in Acrra and our team of engineers are conducting comprehensive inspections on the aircraft to ascertain the cause of the smoke, after which the aircraft will be flown without passengers to a maintenance facility for rectification and testing.
“The relevant aviation authorities in Ghana and Nigeria have been briefed appropriately on the incident.”
The incident occured barely on month after emergency exit door fell off a Dana Air jet as it landed in Abuja after flying in from Lagos.
In another averted disaster, an Atlanta-bound Delta airlines jet was forced to return to Lagos after a fire was detected in one of its engines with passengers using emergency slides to evacuate the plane, officials said.
Meanwhile, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, has commenced investigation into how Dana Air plane overshot the runway at Port Harcourt International Airport.