Less than two weeks after an aircraft belonging to Associated Airlines crashed at the Lagos Airport killing 15 people, another tragedy was averted on Sunday as an IRS Airline aircraft had to crash land when its landing system developed hydraulic failure as it began its descent into the Kaduna Airport.
The aircraft which had 89 passengers on board reportedly crash-landed some minutes after 11:00am.
The plane which left Lagos at about 9: 45am in a flight that was supposed to last one hour, was carrying passengers to Kaduna but the faulty landing system, compelled the pilot to take a precautionary measure by asking ground control to confirm that all gears were down and locked as the aircraft hovered in the air for close to 40 minutes, passengers and airport officials said.
When the control tower at the Kaduna airport was alerted, fire fighters were immediately deployed to prepare grounds for emergency landing. The runway was quickly covered with flame retardant foam to prevent fire outbreak.
The pilot finally performed an emergency landing at the beginning of the tarmac but passengers were not allowed to disembark immediately until some few minutes after and when they eventually did, they were instructed to run into nearby bushes to prevent any casualties in the event of an unexpected fire outbreak.
Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, Captain Fola Akinkoutu in a statement, confirmed the incident.
He said an aircraft F. 100 with Reg no 5N-HIR, operated by IRS Airline landed safely, following a hydraulic leakage on the runway of Kaduna airport yesterday.
According to him, the agency instructed the airline to tow the aircraft to the apron and Accident Investigation Prevention Bureau, AIB, has begun investigation into the incident.
Captain Akinkoutu said, “The NCAA wishes to assure all air travelers of their safety and caution against magnifying a manageable incident out of proportion.”
Also speaking on the incident, IRS spokesman, Yemi Dada said, “On final approach to Kaduna today (yesterday) on our flight 3390 with 89 passengers, our cockpit crew got a low hydraulic in system 1 warning and decided to take precautionary measures to ask for ground confirmation that all gears were down and locked and the aircraft landed normally after the control tower had confirmed that the gears were all down normally.”
He said “the crew proceeded to land but followed procedure to disembark on the runway and not taxi in accordance with the procedure.”
“All passengers disembarked normally and the aircraft was towed to ramp. The maintenance crew are inspecting to confirm the issue that caused the warning to the crew” the IRS spokesman said.
Meanwhile, the airline has on its own suspended operations to enable it carry out maintenance.