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Commotion As Arik Diverts Passengers To P/harcourt by Vavoom: 9:33am On Jun 27, 2012
Did anyone hear about this?

Published on June 26, 2012 by pmnews ·

Frightened passengers scurried to exit doors and sent frantic text messages to loved ones on Sunday night as Arik flight W3 272, which was diverted to Port Harcourt from Abuja, remained grounded for more than one hour with more than 100 people onboard at the Port Harcourt airport.

The terrified passengers remained locked inside the plane allegedly because the aircraft’s fuel tank selector had developed a fault.

Experts say that a faulty fuel tank selector may lead to fuel mismanagement and engine failure, as the pilot finds it difficult to determine the exact amount of fuel remaining in the tank. An empty engine can lead to a crash, they say.

The Lagos-bound plane was diverted to Port Harcourt at about 6 p.m. allegedly to pick more passengers only to be grounded there for more than one hour.

“We were travelling to Lagos from Abuja and were delayed for more than two hours at Nnamdi Azikiwe airport. But when we finally took off, instead of coming straight to Lagos, we were informed that the plane would go to Port Harcourt first to pick more passengers.

“Once in Port Harcourt, we did not pick any passenger. We were there for more than an hour and people became worried and wanted to get off the plane after the pilot informed a passenger that the plane had a selector problem,” a passenger onboard told P.M.NEWS.

“Later the pilot said that the aircraft needed 500 litres of aviation fuel and we realised that he did not have enough fuel as well. Passengers moved to the exit door and they refused to let us out. There was commotion as we began sending text messages to our family members, not knowing what was going on or what could happen,” he said.

“They had total disregard for us and did not even feel that after delaying us for more than three hours, they had to apologise or provide an explanation,” he added, echoing the mood and feelings of other trapped passengers.

As the commotion went on and the delay lasted, a passenger who was travelling to Dubai from Lagos missed his flight. He threatened to report the airline to the Senate.

Passengers wondered why the plane was allowed to leave Abuja airport without enough fuel, an oversight that has caused a raft of air disasters around the world.

When contacted, Banji Ola, Arik Air spokesperson said that the claims, corroborated by other passengers, were unfounded.


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