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|NUJ President, 74 Others Escape Death As Aircraft Loses Engine Mid-air by Svelteb(f): 1:31pm On Mar 29, 2013|
BY Kenneth Ehigiator & DANIEL ETEGHE
Over 75 passengers and crew narrowly escaped death
Thursday as a Rabat, Morocco-bound Royal Air Maroc
flight lost one of its engines mid-air.
The flight, which took off at the Murtala Muhammed
International Airport, Lagos, at about 7:30am, had on
board National President of Nigeria Union of
Journalists, NUJ, Garba Mohammed, and seven other
Nigerian journalists who were to attend the Federation
of Africa Journalists conference in Morocco.
The other journalists include National Secretary, NUJ,
Shuaibu Liman, National Treasurer, Fatima Abdulkarim,
Mukhtar Gidado, former Vice President, Zone E,
Gbenga Onayiga, as well as chairmen of Bauchi and
Kogi states chapters of the union.
Also on board the flight was a group of Beninois
journalists who were billed to attend the same
Vanguard gathered that the aircraft, Boeing 737-800,
was already an hour into the flight when the pilot
noticed failure in one of the engines of the twin-engine
He was said to have immediately embarked on a return
to point of take-off and called for emergency landing.
Lagos airport officials who preferred anonymity, said
fire tenders and ambulance vehicles were deployed in
response to the emergency declared by the pilot.
Fire hydrants were reportedly deployed in runway 18R
where the pilot was expected to land the aircraft,
having shed off fuel.
The pilot was, however, said to have landed safely
without any injury to passengers and bodily damage to
Passengers who had urgent appointments to keep in
Morocco reportedly engaged officials of the airline in
war of words for deploying an aircraft deemed not
The intervention of airport officials was said to have
prevented what could have been an ugly spectacle at
NUJ President, Garba Mohammed, who thanked God
for averting what could have been a major disaster,
said the aircraft engines on take-off made some
deafening vibrations, which frightened passengers on
He quoted the Beninois journalists as saying the engines
gave a similar sound when they took off in Cotonou
yesterday morning en route Lagos.
At press time, it was learnt that the airline was making
arrangements to check the passengers into an hotel as
stipulated by international civil aviation regulations,
with a promise to airlift them to their destination today.
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