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Plane runs into stray cows in Port Harcourt • 196 passengers escape death

Posted by Soni Daniel,Akin Olukunle and Seto Olatuyi on 2005/07/06 | Views: 369 |

Plane runs into stray cows in Port Harcourt • 196 passengers escape death


An Air France aircraft with 196 passengers on board ran into stray cows on the runway of the Port Harcourt International Airport as it touched down on Wednesday morning.

An Air France aircraft with 196 passengers on board ran into stray cows on the runway of the Port Harcourt International Airport as it touched down on Wednesday morning.

The Airbus 330 marked F-GZCF flew in from France.

There was no loss of life or injury.

Seven of the stray cows were however killed by the plane, forcing the authorities to close the airport for about five hours.

There was no word about the whereabouts of the herdsman.

It was gathered that it took officials of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria about three hours to round up the surviving cows and clear the runway of debris before flights resumed at about 12 noon.

A spokesperson for Air France, Mrs. Moyo Areola, confirmed to journalists that none of the passengers was wounded.

Areola said, “There were cows on the runway, but the aircraft landed safely. The passengers have all disembarked. We are probably not going to fly out today until we are sure the plane is not damaged.

“It is a puzzle. We are trying to figure out how the animals got to the place.”

The airline, in a statement made available to our correspondent at about 8pm, said a mechanical team from Paris was on its way to Port Harcourt to further certify the safety of the aircraft.

“The statement read, “While landing at 04.30am local time this morning (Wednesday) in Port Harcourt, our aircraft carrying 196 passengers collided with some cattle that were crossing the tarmac. No passenger or crew was injured.

“The aircraft taxied safely to the gate on time at 04.34am local time. The aircraft is presently on ground for safety reasons and will not be flown until all necessary safety precautions have been taken.

A maintenance team is locally checking the aircraft.

“Our flight for tonight (Wednesday), AF 875 to Paris has been cancelled.”

When contacted, the Public Relations Manager of the FAAN, Mrs. Christie Nwoke, said she was not competent to comment on the development.

She referred our correspondent to Abuja for the reaction of the authority.

But a source in FAAN hinted that a panel might be raised to investigate the incident, which he described as an “embarrassment” to the country.

Our correspondents learnt that the matter was already receiving attention in Abuja.

Passenger and vehicular traffic built up at the precincts of the airport while FAAN officials battled to clear the runway.

The situation was worsened by the barricades mounted at the entrances to the waiting and arrival halls of the airport

A Lagos-bound passenger and businessman, Mr. Williams Braide, said the accident had cost him a 10am appointment with a client in Lagos.

He described the accident as embarrassing and called for a probe by the aviation authorities.

An executive whose company had an 11am strategic signing ceremony in Port Harcourt, arrived the Rivers State capital through the airport at about 1pm.

A mother of three, who was at the airport to catch the first flight at 7.30am to Lagos, had to return home when the FAAN officials barred her from entering the waiting hall of the airport.

Last month, a commercial aircraft was grounded for sometime after birds rammed into its fuselage.

Shortly before then, workers inexplicably found a lunatic in a parked aircraft.

The Punch, Thursday July 07, 2005

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

Actually translates to bravehearted.