What may have been another tragedy in the Nigerian aviation industry was earlier today averted as the door of Dana Air aircraft fell off while taxiing to the apron side of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja to disembark passengers.
A source close to the scene of the incident at Abuja Airport told our correspondent that the aircraft, an MD 83 had departed Lagos for Abuja with about 120 passengers on board.
This is as the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said that it had immediately commenced an investigation into the incident.
The source confirmed that there was no passenger or any of the cabin crew close to the door before it fell off while taxiing.
One of the passengers onboard, who simply identified himself as Wale, told our correspondent on phone that before the ground incident, the flight to Abuja was smooth, but was surprised when the door fell off with a loud noise while the pilot was taxiIng to the apron.
The spokesman for Dana Air, Mr. Kingsley Ezenwa, confirmed the incident to our correspondent through an email address.
He, however, said that the door could not have open without a conscious effort by a passenger to open it, but Sahara Reporters can confirm that there was no passenger beside the door when the incident occurred.
He explained that by design, the emergency exit door of “our aircraft are plug-type backed by pressure, which ordinary cannot fall off without tampering or conscious effort to open by a crew member or passenger.
“We also wish to enlighten the author that, when an aircraft is airborne, it is fully pressurized and there was no way the seat or door could have been 'shaking' as insinuated.”
Ezenwa declared that a thorough inspection was however carried out on the aircraft in Abuja by its engineers and a team from NCAA, and no issue was reported, adding that there was no threat to safety at any point during the incident.
According to him, the aircraft was only delayed for eight minutes, saying that the airline needed to demonstrate to the regulators that the safety and comfort of its guests were at the center of its operations.
He added that a thorough investigation into the incident was ongoing.
Besides, the General Manager, Public Affairs, NCAA, Mr. Sam Adurogboye who confirmed the incident said that the regulatory body has commenced an investigation into the issue.
He said that NCAA is carrying out a follow-up investigation on the matter, but also confirmed that the door has been fixed while the aircraft is back to Lagos.
“We have investigated the issue and inspected the airplane. We are doing a follow-up investigation on how and why the door came down. Meanwhile, the door has been fixed. The aircraft landed in Abuja. The incident happened in Abuja. The aircraft is back in Lagos and it was from Lagos that we carried out the investigation on the aircraft.”