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Delta Air Lines Airbus A330-300

Delta begins airlift of unaffected passengers of flight 55 incident

  • As NCAA cautions against speculation of cause
  • AIB takes possession of aircraft for safety investigation

FOLLOWING the air return incident of Delta flight 55 from Lagos, Nigeria to Atlanta after the aircraft lost one of its Airbus A330-200 two engines, the airline has begun airlifting of its passengers who were not seriously affected by the incident.

This is just as the Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has said that the Accident investigation Bureau (AIB) will handle the investigation given that it is a serious incident cautioning against speculation as to the cause of the incident.

Meanwhile, Commissioner of accident investigation Bureau says the agency has taken possession of the aircraft and sterilized the site to avoid tampering and carry out a safety investigation on the aircraft.

Delta  Air Lines in a statement said it provided an aircraft at around 3pm today to airlift the passengers and will also bring another aircraft to airlift the more to the United States on Thursday.

“As at some minutes to 3pm Nigerian Time, today, Wednesday 14th February 2018, Delta Air Lines can confirm that a Delta aircraft arrived Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to airlift Nigerian passengers to the United States tonight.”

“The airline can also confirm that in the early hours of Thursday, 15th February 2018, another Delta Air Lines aircraft will arrive Lagos Airport to airlift more Nigerians to the US same day.

Speaking on the incident, DG NCAA stated there was no need to speculate as to what caused the fire on the engine of the aircraft but that the said fire had been controlled as at the time they went to visit the aircraft site.

He said,”One of the engines was reported to have caught fire
Well, again, it was reportedly on fire, the captain requested or declared what we call Mayday, which was an emergency that he wanted to come back citing one of the engines was on fire, requesting for emergency services and all the agencies that were required to be there were there for that aircraft to ensure that everything went smoothly, the aircraft landed safely, there was precautionary evacuation of passengers, however, details of the cause and recommendation will come from the AIB.”

“We don’t speculate on causes of accidents, it is only investigation that would be able to determine what could have caused the fire, whether it was an actual fire or maybe it was just an indication because there are sensors that are supposed to sense fire and alert the crew for their necessary action, so we would not be able to know what could cause the fire.”

AIB Commissioner, Akin Olateru said, “When you have this kind of thing, we take possession of the aircraft and nobody goes near it. The aircraft is under safety investigation. That is what is required by law but until they make a formal report, then we are expecting them. I was made to understand they have appointed two investigators to work with us and they should be arriving this afternoon, I was made to understand. US NTSB notified us that Delta has appointed two investigators to join us and NTSB is nominating one person. Their representative too will be joining to assist us on this investigation.”

Recall that the Delta aircraft returned to Lagos International Airport Tuesday after an issue with one of the A330-200’s two engines. The flight landed safely and customers exited the aircraft on the runway via emergency slides. Airport fire authorities met the aircraft upon arrival. Delta’s customers were bussed back to the terminal.

Delta acknowledged five of its passengers sustained non-critical injuries as a result of the evacuation stating that its teams have provided overnight hotel accommodations to customers and will rebook customers on an alternate Delta aircraft Wednesday afternoon. The safety of Delta’s customers and crew members is always our top priority.

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