A passenger on board a Lagos-Accra Arik Air flight W3 304 which hand emergency landing in Accra on March 6, 2018 has said that oxygen masks which are always advertised during take-off rolls could not be deployed when the aircraft had an issue mid-air.
Instead, he said the passengers were given serviette to “cover our noses to minimize and filter out possible carbon monoxide inhalation.”
On most pressurized aircraft, compartments containing the oxygen masks will open automatically, either above or in front of the passenger and crew seats, and the oxygen masks will drop down in front of the passenger.
He said the flight took off at 7.20pm (Nigerian time) and 35 minutes into the 55 minutes flight a terrible burning smell permeated the cabin.
According to him, the Dash 8 Q400 NextGen aircraft declared an emergency landing when smoke filled the cabin and prompted the cabin crew to start opening the cabins and the lavatories to check if they could trace the source of the smoke without success.
“About 5 minutes after, precisely with 15 minutes of flight time remaining, the pilot came on the public address system to inform us that they have smoke coming into the cabin and that they don’t know the source and that they have declared emergency”.
“The flight successfully landed by 8.15pm (7.15pm Accra time) to the waiting of several fire service trucks at Kotoko International airport, Accra.
“We were evacuated into a waiting bus with instruction to leave everything behind in the cabin. Sadly there was no Arik official to address us neither was there any manner of first aid attention given to the passengers to manage stress and possible elevated blood pressures.”
“I’m highly discouraged that this near crash major incident was not reported in the media days after…,” he said.
Meanwhile the airline in a reaction confirmed the incident on flight W3 304 Lagos-Accra and stated that the aircraft is in Accra for inspection.
A statement issued separately by the consultant to the airline, SY&T Communications Limited and spokesman for the carrier, Mr. Adebanji Ola confirmed the incident.
It reads: “Arik Air flight W3 304 from Lagos to Accra on March 6, 2018 declared an emergency in line with standard operating procedures, when unknown source of smoke was detected in the cabin 81 miles from Accra.
“The captain of the flight briefed the passengers accordingly assuring them that the aircraft was under control and safe for landing in Accra.
“The aircraft, a Dash 8 Q400, landed safely in Accra without further incident and all passengers disembarked normally.
“The aircraft is currently parked in Acrra and our team of engineers are conducting comprehensive inspections on the aircraft to ascertain the cause of the smoke, after which the aircraft will be flown without passengers to a maintenance facility for rectification and testing. The relevant aviation authorities in Ghana and Nigeria have been briefed appropriately on the incident.