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Air crash averted in Sokoto

Posted by By AHMED OYERINDE, Sokoto on 2005/11/09 | Views: 626 |

Air crash averted in Sokoto

A major air disaster was averted on Tuesday, when a Kabo Air Boeing 747 plane carrying pilgrims from Saudi Arabia almost crash-landed at the Sultan Abubakar III International Airport, Sokoto.

A major air disaster was averted on Tuesday, when a Kabo Air Boeing 747 plane carrying pilgrims from Saudi Arabia almost crash-landed at the Sultan Abubakar III International Airport, Sokoto.

The incident occurred barely 17 days after a Bellview aircraft enroute Abuja crashed at Lisa village, near Ifo Ogun State, killing all 117 passengers and crew on board.

Daily Sun gathered that the Kabo flight carrying many top government officials, state lawmakers, traditional rulers and Islamic clerics who were returning home from Saudi Arabia after the Umrah, lesser Hajj had arrived the Sokoto airport early Tuesday morning.

The pilot made attempt to land twice but could not do so, causing the flight to be diverted to the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano.

When Daily Sun visited the Sokoto airport at about 2pm Tuesday, many well wishers and anxious relatives of the passengers on board were seen discussing the incident in groups and praying for the safe arrival of the pilgrims .

Contacted, the Airspace Manager at the airport, Mr Esona Ituka confirmed the incident but was quick to add that all navigational aids at the airport were serviceable, claiming further that there was two-way communication between the pilot and the control tower.

Mr Ituka explained that the visibility was about 4000 meters as against the 1200 meters required for that particular aircraft, therefore wondering why the captain could not land the aircraft.
To buttress his claim, the Airspace Manager recalled that during the 2005 Hajj operation, visibility was about 1000 metres and still over 24 inbound scheduled flights landed safely.

Also contacted, the Airport Manager, Alhaji Sabo Giade stated that the aircraft was diverted to Kano for safety reasons saying, ''in aviation it is safety first.'' He denied that there was any problem with the aircraft.

Sources close to the airport, however, confided to Daily Sun that the problem was likely to either be due to stress or the inexperience of the pilot.

Nigerians were thrown into deep mourning when an aircraft conveying 117 passengers and crew members departed Lagos for Abuja on October 22 but crashed at Lisa village in Ogun State.
On November 1, another aircraft belonging to Associated Airlines crash-landed at the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos.

The aircraft carrying 17 passengers and three crew members from Benin, Edo State lost its nosewheel on landing during bad weather. It skidded off the runaway. No casualty was recorded.

Also on Monday, an Aero contractors flight from the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja was aborted just before take-off following the discovery that the plane had suffered a bird strike.

And just as the plane was taxiing to park, it lost a tyre due to the slope on the runway. None of the persons on board was injured.

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