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Crash Scare as Benin-Bound Arik Flight Returns to Abuja for Landing


The African Examiner,

ArikThere was a crash scare on Friday as Benin-bound Arik Flight returned to Abuja for Landing after about 45 minutes hovering over the Benin Airport.

 This incident is coming barely 24 hours after the Lagos crash carrying the corpse of late former Governor Olusegun Agagu killing 13 out of 20 passengers on board.

A passenger, who is also a journalist on board the Benin-bound Arik flight, told African Examiner that the pilot had to abort the flight and returned to Abuja for landing after several unsuccessful attempts to land in Benin.

Below is the full account of the incident:

The Abuja to Benin Arik flight was originally billed for 2pm yesterday (Friday) but was rescheduled to 3 30pm same day with apologies to already checked-in passengers.

Eventually when Abj-Benin passengers where asked to proceed for boarding and conveyed by airport shuttle to the aircraft, passengers discovered that the initial aircraft has been changed to a smaller propeller Bombardier Q400 plane.

Despite the initial delay, the airline was still unprepared as passengers had to wait by the aircraft for ground crew members to hurriedly fuel, clean and prepare the aircraft for boarding to the chagrin of passengers. They eventually boarded and the flight took off by about 4pm.

After the approximately 30 minutes flight, passengers were however held in frightful suspense after several attempts by the pilot to land the plane into the Benin Airport proved abortive.

The pilot explained to passengers that he can’t land the plane due to heavy rainfall in Benin which caused poor visibility as well as a waterlogged and slippery runway.

The scenario caused uneasy calm and panic in the aircraft which hovered in the Benin airspace for about 45 minutes, as people silently and openly prayed to their God and sang spiritual Songs.

The fright that gripped passengers in the plane was not helped by the fact that the Dailies most of them had were awash with reports and pictures of the Agagu funeral party plane crash the previous day.

Even an attempt to land the plane in closeby Esubi Airstrip in Warri proved abortive too, until the pilot eventually informed passengers that he cannot dissipate more aviation fuel trying to land the plane, and that he has opted to fly back to Abuja, a decision passengers generally acknowledged.

Coincidentally, upon return, Abuja had a rainstorm too but with a well-lit runway that is not waterlogged, the plane landed successfully to the relief of passengers.

In all, about 2 hours was spent in the air for local flight of about 30 minutes.

Several passengers opted for a refund which Arik obliged, while others resolved to still travel with the flight rescheduled for 9 30am today Saturday.

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