The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has begun investigation into Tuesday’s Dana Air incident at the Port- Harcourt Airport.
Its spokesman, Tunji Oketumbi, said a team from the bureau, led by the director of operations, Capt. Dayyabu Danraka, was already on ground in Port Harcourt for investigation into the incident.
The team is expected to unravel the remote and immediate cause of the incident and make recommendations to forestall future occurrence.
The investigation followed the official report of the incident by the airline to AIB.
The incident is coming barely a week after Delta Airline also had serious incident and had to make an air return to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport for an emergency landing.
The Dana aircraft with registration number 9J0363, flying from Abuja to Port Harcourt Airport, skidded off the runway at the Port Harcourt International Airport.
The airline attributed the incident to bad weather and torrential rain at the time of landing.
No casualty was recorded as passengers and crew disembarked safely.
The 49 passengers in the plane were as at yesterday yet to retrieve their luggage from the damaged aircraft, almost 24 hours after the incident.
The displeased passengers were not sure of when their luggage, still inside the aircraft, would be released to them, to conclude the one hour journey they started from Abuja on Tuesday evening.
It was gathered at the airport that a team of experienced investigators and experts from Dana’s headquarters in Lagos arrived Port Harcourt yesterday morning and had been busy at the airport to ascertain what went wrong and the extent of damage to the plane.
Officials of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Dana’s investigators at Port Harcourt airport did not allow reporters to join the team or move close to the scene of the incident.
A female passenger, who spoke with our reporter, but pleaded not to be named, said: “I did not know what happened along the line, as the plane suddenly skidded off the runway. Everybody was just shouting and praying, before the aircraft finally stopped.
“There was nobody to direct us or show us where to go. Everybody was just running helter-shelter. No medical service. We are here (at Port Harcourt International Airport) to get our luggage, but they said the manager is still at the incident’s scene.”
An elderly male passenger, who also spoke with our reporter, but would not want his name in print, said: “We have been here (airport) as early as 8 a.m. today (Wednesday) to get our luggage, but they are not giving it to us.
“As I speak with you, members of my family are not even aware of what is happening to me, because my phones are inside my bag in the plane.”
None of the officials of Dana, a fully private-sector-owned carrier, which commenced flight operations on November 10, 2008, and FAAN at the airport was ready to speak with our reporter, even anonymously, on the flight number 9J0363, what went wrong and the extent of damage to the aircraft.
FAAN’s General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, stated that the aircraft overshot the runway.
Dana’s Corporate Communications Manager Kingsley Ezenwa Okwudili noted that bad weather and torrential rain at the time of landing, was responsible for the incident.