- Aero refutes claims
FIFTY-THREE (53) panic-stricken passengers on board Aero Contractors yesterday escaped suffocation as the aircraft, flight NG316 enroute Lagos from Port Harcourt gathered thick smoke which caused sheer pandemonium on board the aircraft.
According to a video making rounds on twitter, fear-stricken passengers were screaming for deliverance having seen the bellow of smoke in the aircraft.
According to the originator of the story who narrated her ordeal on her Twitter handle she said the flight, which took off from Port Harcourt and bound for Lagos, started smoking barely 20 minutes after departure.
According to her, one of the blades sparked and the entire plane was filled with smoke, choking panicking passengers.
A statement in a bid to allay fears released by SY&T Communication and signed by Simon Tumba on behalf of Aero Contractors stated that the accounts as to what happened even the video online were untrue.
The statement read, ”Unlike the stories being spread on social media, the management of Aero has explained that flight NG316, which departed Port Harcourt airport on April 18, 2017 at 1608GMT, enroute Lagos, with 52 adults +1 infant on board. They also commended the Pilot and the entire crew for the professionalism they displayed in handling the situation.”
“There have been different accounts of the incidents with some claiming that the smoke came from the baggage compartment while other allude to all manner of unverified claims. But the management of Aero said it regrets any inconveniences the incident might have caused its esteemed passengers and assured it will get to the root cause of the matter.”
The statement went on to explain what transpired between cockpit and cabin crew stating,“Although the Management led by Capt. Ado Sanusi, Chief Executive Officer of Aero has ordered for full scale investigation into the incident, preliminary reports has it that at 1645 GMT about 75NM to Lagos at 24,00ft, the cabin crew observed that the cabin was misty. This was reported to the Captain, who briefed the passengers accordingly assuring them of a safe landing in Lagos in a couple of minutes.”
“Expectedly as announced by the pilot, normal descent was initiated into Lagos. While descending however, a passenger went into the lavatory, after which the lavatory smoke detector alarm came on. The cabin crew again reported this incident to the Captain and by this time the smoke was getting denser in the cabin.”
“Ready and armed with “Aft Cargo Smoke” indication in the flight deck, the crew carried out the smoke dispersal procedures and contacted air traffic control at 1655GMT, requesting for emergency support services and proceeded to Lagos, which is the airport with the full complement of emergency support. At this stage again, the cabin crew reassured the passengers and handed out wet towels to them as a precautionary measure for such incidents.”
The statement further read that Aero management was looking into the cause of the incident in as much as it has also made the relevant authorities aware of the situation that caused panic on the aircraft.
“The Captain also announced to the passengers to be calm as the smoke in question did not present any irritation or discomfort. The aircraft landed at 1703 GMT without any incident. Although the company engineers had carried out the routine systems checks, and reported all normal, Capt. Sanusi who has also reported the incident to the appropriate authorities in the country said another round of thorough investigation was ongoing.”