At 30,000 feet above sea level, up there in the sky and just five minutes after taking off from the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, western Nigeria, the Dana Air Flight 537 to Abuja began to bounce, shake and struggle.
This was just few minutes to four o’clock in the afternoon and this was when the over 20-year old MD-83 Dana plane was filled to capacity.
The weather was great, the sun was up and turbulence was minimal when we all left Lagos excited to visit Nigeria’s luxurious capital of Abuja.
Continue reading after the cut.....
I was going to Abuja to attend a bloggers’ party at House Forty Three located at 43 Gana Street in Maitama, a highbrow area in Abuja. The party was organised by “A Login Bloggers Network Initiative” with the theme #WetinUDeyBlogSef.
It was an event that had been in the pipeline for two months and excitement was at the very peak.
However, few minutes after taking off, the engine began scream and the plane began to go up and down. We will begin to go down and down and then up and up in za sudden switch.
Passengers on board the old plane began to pray. I wanted to sleep, but sleep failed to come and when food was served, I did not have strength to eat. I was petrified.
This was in addition to the heat. It was as if the cooling system had crashed right from before the old plane took off.
A cabin crew who received a complaint from a passenger said the plane was hot because there were many people on board.
The second cabin crew told us when the plane takes off and we fly for some minutes the cooling system will be normalised.
We all pray for a safe flight, not sure we will make it to Abuja. The latest scare came few minutes to landing. The loud sound that was coming from the engine was similar to the once banned Molue buses on Lagos chaotic traffic snarls.
The noise lasted until we touched down at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport in Abuja more than an hour after we left Lagos contrary to the 55 minutes we were told for the duration of the flight.
At landing, passengers began to thank their God for a miraculous flight. One passenger approached airport authorities to lodge an official complaint. Another said he had been flying Dana in recent times and it has always been smooth but added: “this very plane seems to be faulty”.
The Dana Air flight 537 to Abuja from Lagos on Friday afternoon almost crashed and may crash in few months if nothing is done fast by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA.
You know, I have lived long enough, and got white hair by the way to know that whether here in Abuja, central Nigeria, where I am writing this, thanking God for my life or over there, wherever you’re reading it, the truth remains that if that plane is not fixed urgently, it will kill many people in just few weeks.
- Simon Ateba
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