Air traffic controllers have told Saharareporters confidentially that the crashed airliner Dana aircraft most likely had one failed engine long before the pilot declared an emergency. Multiple sources confirmed that the pilot had requested to land on Murtala Muhammad Airport’s longer runway 18R before calling air controllers back a few minutes later to report a total emergency.
They believe that second call was most probably when the second engine failed. The aircraft crashed about seven nautical miles from the local airport.
One source further explained that the MD 83 plane was overloaded with passengers and luggage to the extent that when the first engine failed, the pilots urgently reduced speed to enable the flight land safely on the longer and better runway, an action that led the flight to an extra 20 minutes delay before crashing at 3:43p.m. It had been billed to land at 3:21p.m.
Our sources stated that the drastic reduction in thrust was the undoing of the pilot, given the heavy pay load. To underscore their point that the operators of the jet knew of its mechanical troubles, one of our sources said the jet conducted a short flight test between the Lagos and Ibadan airport on Saturday, apparently to prove to regulators that the jet was “airworthy”.
Several employees of the Dana airlines have publicly stated that the owners were aware as early as Sunday that the jet had mechanical troubles, as it had struggled on a flight to Calabar, but the operators forced the crew to fly it anyway, obviously with an eye on maximizing profit.
Residents that witnessed the crash at Iju Agege area of Lagos have also told Saharareporters that they watched as the pilot seemed to struggle to give the aircraft a final thrust of flight power before the crash, which killed everyone on board.
But speaking for the first time officially today, Dana Air's Director of Flight Operations, Captain Oscar Wason, suggested that a "bird strike" may have caused the crash.
Appearing on Silver Bird TV in Lagos, he said the management of the grounded airline found remnants of birds in one of the engines of the crashed plane.
According to him, “I don’t know what could have been responsible for the crash, but this morning we found remnants of birds in one of the engines.”
He noted that birds were a problem in Nigeria he has experienced several times. “We have bird strikes and it might have been that a mass of birds went through the engine and caused it to lose power.”
However, he said the investigations must be left to come out with an answer. “We have found the voice recorder and that has to be sent to either the UK or Washington. I am planning to travel out myself so that we can found out what is the real cause of the accident.”
It will take several months, if not years, to arrive at the real cause of the fatal crash of Dana Air 992, as Nigeria typically relies on American investigators to unravel the cause of airline accidents.