The former governorship candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Bayelsa State, Mr. Famous Daunemigha who was on board a Port Harcourt-bound Dana aircraft that skidded off the Port Harcourt (PHIA) runway today has attributed the incident to inconsistency with flight schedule.
Speaking in a telephone interview with Television Continental, Daunemigha said if the flight had left the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on schedule, “we wouldn’t have experienced a bad weather.”
He therefore called on aviation authorities to make the airlines stick to their flight schedules.
Below is the verbatim report of the interview monitored by NewsGazette in Lagos.
“The flight was initially scheduled to leave Abuja by 4pm. We took off 6.10pm from Abuja airport. The pilot informed us that the aircraft will arrive at the PHIA by 6.52pm.
“I observed that there was a lot of thunder and rain; I wasn’t seeing any light from below. The last I can remember was that the pilot was making a call to the Port Harcourt control tower; but there was no response from the control tower. Then we landed. The landed was very smooth but just as we landed-I was sitting in the emergency exit my seat number was 21c- I just heard a kind of gbuum. All of a sudden we found ourselves struggling; the aircraft was running off the runway. We went very far; thank God that the plane now stopped. This was how I found myself surviving the crash.
“Myself and one person from Benue were the last two persons that came out of the aircraft. No one person was injured, to my notice. But we were traumatized.
“I must say that the pilot was very brave; he was a very brave pilot. We thank God for his experience
“We don’t have our own personal plane. Air crashes occur everywhere. But I feel that most of these things could have been averted if the airlines keep to their time of flight. They are staggering too many flights; that is one of the problems.
“If we had left the airport by that 4pm, we wouldn’t have experienced bad weather. So, the aviation industry needs to restrict these airline operators for chewing more than what they can bite (sic),” said Daunemigha.
Meanwhile, the general manager, corporate affairs of the Federal airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, said in statement that the incident was “suspected to have been caused by a heavy rain, which was accompanied by strong wind and storm in Port Harcourt.”
She said casualty was recorded as all passengers on board were safely evacuated.