An air mishap was narrowly averted on Thursday evening when a Max Air Boeing 747 Airplane carrying about 550 pilgrims from Saudi Arabia missed crash landing on the runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport due to stormy weather.
According to an eyewitness – Sani Abubakar Hanfari, who was a passenger on board the plane, the flight was the fourth conveying FCT pilgrims from the holy land to Nigeria.
Hanafari, who is the vice- chairman of Jama’are Local Government Area in Bauchi State, said trouble started for Flight 2210 as it approached Nnamdi Azikwe Airport at around 4.45pm and encountered a stormy weather, which forced the pilot, identified as Captain Zaki, to take off again and hover above the airport for several minutes before he made another attempt to land.
This was again aborted by the pilot as he flew the plane back up for over 20 minutes before attempting to land again.
“We could see evidence of storm through the aircraft’s windows and were not surprised to see the plane fly up again,” Hanfari said.
He said the loud cries of many of the female passengers on board could be heard even as several passengers in a momentary fit of fear and uncertainty excreted and passed urine on their seats, adding that the plane, however, landed successfully after the fourth attempt.
According to him, three persons passed out and were immediately put into waiting ambulances, while the rest disembarked safely.
Meanwhile, the spokesman of Max Air, Ibrahim Dahiru, when contacted, said he was in Mecca but added that the aborted landings might have been a normal technical problem due to bad weather.
“As we speak now, the aircraft is on its way back to Kano before leaving for Saudi Arabia to evacuate more pilgrims,” he added.