Search Site: OnlineNigeria

Close






Missing plane: Minister recants, says aircraft not found

Posted by By UCHE USIM and DENNIS MERNYI, Abuja on 2008/03/18 | Views: 1098 |

Missing plane: Minister recants, says aircraft not found


The nation suffered a monumental embarrassment on Monday when the Minister of Air Transport, Mr. Felix Hassan Hyat and the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr Harold Demuren, said earlier reports that wreckage of the missing 19-seater Beechcraft 1900D airplane had been found was false.

The nation suffered a monumental embarrassment on Monday when the Minister of Air Transport, Mr. Felix Hassan Hyat and the Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr Harold Demuren, said earlier reports that wreckage of the missing 19-seater Beechcraft 1900D airplane had been found was false.

The minister had said, on Sunday evening, that the wreckage of the plane had been found in Iyalla Local Government Area of Cross River State.
Speaking to the press in Abuja on Monday, through the Chief Press Secretary of the Ministry of Air Transportation, Mrs. Rhoda Iliya, the minister said that the information he earlier received from the NCAA and released to the press was false. While regretting the misinformation, he advised that it be discarded as the search mission was still on.

The new position of the minister corroborates the statement made on Sunday by the Managing Director of Wings Aviation Limited, the owners of the plane, Capt. Nogie Meggison, that there was no expert identification of the crash site, as the AIB was yet to confirm the exact location.
He had said: “The AIB has communicated with the airline (Wings Aviation Limited) that the wreckage of the aircraft is speculated to be in Iyalla or Abakaliki area of Ebonyi State.
“The search and rescue operations, in respect of our missing aircraft, has been intensified with additional hands deployed around parts of Cross River State.”

Daily Sun gathered that some overzealous officials from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and some villagers, who were reportedly on the search train, located pieces of metals and hastily concluded that the rubble were scraps of the ill-fated airplane.
A call was put across to the minister and the NCAA boss, who just arrived from London. Later on, the news filtered out to the media that the wreckage had been found, which eventually turned out to be a hoax.

The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and the combined rescue team of the Air Transport and NEMA have, therefore, resumed the search for the missing plane.
Mr. Hyat had revealed, on Saturday evening that the search would extend into Cameroon, as there was possibility that the airplane may have strayed into the country, which shares border with Cross River State.

Daily Sun learnt that the need to enter into Cameroon arose when hopes that the wreckage would be found within the Nigerian shores appeared dim.
However, NACCA boss, Demuren noted that the search and recover personnel had been divided into groups for more effectiveness.
"Some are in Obudu, some in Port Harcourt and Abuja and so on. The search is still on until we find it," he said.

Meanwhile, NEMA has been accused of using fuel-guzzling helicopters that require regular refilling in the search for the missing plane.
According to an industry source, the helicopters conduct the search for an hour or thereabout after which they will retreat to refuel.
The helicopters’ low fuel endurance has hampered intensive and lengthy search for the wreckage of the missing 19-seater airplane.

Reacting to the over 48-hour long search, the Secretary-General of Aviation Round Table (ART), a melting pot of aviation professionals, Samuel Akerele, said the union was "praying for a miracle to allow survivors in this national tragedy, which has taken more than 48 hours to locate the aircraft and the crew members."

The Director, Corporate Affairs of Afrijet Airlines, Alhaji Mohammed Tukur, said the development has once again exposed the inefficiencies in the Search and Rescue (SAR) section of the aviation industry.

He said the person who gave the misleading information should not escape the full wrath of the law as the negative news had embarrassed the country.

"This cannot happen in developed countries without appropriate punishment. Indeed, the fellow or persons will be jailed. It is a serious matter," he said.

Read Full Story Here.... :
Leave Comment Here :



Add Comment

* Required information
1000
Captcha Image

Comments (1)

Gravatar
New
Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.