68 doctors escape death as air aircraft crash-lands in Abuja
CITIZENS COMPASS – NO fewer than 68 medical doctors escaped death on Sunday, May 7, 2023, when an aircraft belonging to Max Air, conveying 68 medical doctors and other passengers, crash-landed at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja.
The Boeing 737 aircraft was said to have suffered tyre bursts which resulted in fire outbreak at about 3 pm.
Eye witnesses’ accounts said as at 6 p. m, the aircraft was yet to be evacuated from the runway, causing flight disruptions as several airlines had to reschedule their flights.
Airport officials disclosed that the runway had been closed, adding that all the passengers were successfully evacuated.
The crash resulted in shutting down of Abuja airport runway until further notice. The officials said the aircraft landed safely, and all passengers were evacuated.
” All Air Peace flights to Calabar, Asaba, Owerri, Warri, and Benin have been cancelled. All these cancellations are outright. They will be communicated when their flights have been rescheduled.”
Other scheduled flights to Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kano, and other parts of the country were put on hold.
One of the Max Air passengers which spoke with newsmen in confidence, said the Abuja-bound flight was on its way from a northern state when it crashed – landed.
According to him, they had travelled to Jalingo for the annual delegate conference of the Nigerian Medical Association, adding that no fewer than 68 medical doctors were on board the aircraft.
He said, “There were 68 medical doctors and other passengers on board the aircraft, including the President of Nigeria Medical Association. We were lucky to have successfully landed. If anything had happened, NMA would have been in a real disaster. The country would have felt it.”
An official of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) told the waiting passengers that the airport runway would be reopened after the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and other agencies had completed their investigation.
It was learned that the ill-fated aircraft would have to be thoroughly cleaned from the runway before it beoames operational
The Aerodrome Rescue and Fire-fighting Service (ARFFS) operatives at the airport were said to be swiftly mobilised to put off the fire.
Former President of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Mike Ogirima, who gave an account of the incident, said the tyre burst occurred after taking off at Yola Airport.
However, the aircraft crash-landed in Abuja with emergency officials already on ground to put off the fire before the passengers disembarked right at the runway.
Ogirima said, “We thank God. We are still on the runway and the pilot has reassured us. He has called for the stairs and we are now disembarking from the runway to be evacuated to the airport building at the arrival hall.
“We bless God because we have witnessed the pull out of the tyre right from the airport in Yola and we went into prayer session. I never announced it as a surgeon so as not to cause any panic but we bless God.”
The passengers were safely disembarked from the runway while the runway has been temporarily shut until the evacuation of the aircraft.
An official of the airline who confirmed the incident said the passengers safely disembarked.
He expressed gratitude to God for the safety of all the passengers and crew members.
He said the airline would officially inform the appropriate authorities to carry out an investigation into the incident.