Many Ilorin bound passengers from Lagos and Abuja were stranded over the weekend following an incident involving an Air Peace flight from Abuja on Friday morning.
The Air Peace B737-500 aircraft with registration number 5N-BQR had a burst tyre on landing at the Ilorin International Airport around 10 a.m.
- APPLY: Federal Roads Safety Corps recruitment 2021
- 3 policemen injured, as gunmen invade Kaduna community
However, passengers were safely evacuated while efforts were being made to remove the aircraft from the runway.
This resulted in the cancellation of the airline’s outbound flight to Lagos and all inbound flights to Ilorin due to the temporary closure of the runway.
Findings by Daily Trust revealed that the situation caused panic among the passengers on board.
The plane was however evacuated around 3 p.m on Saturday.
Authorities were still waiting for signals from from Lagos to open the airport but Overland was checking in passengers during a visit to the airport.
Arik had to reschedule its passengers for tomorrow (Sunday) while only Overland was checking passengers at the time Daily Trust visited the Airport around 4pm on Saturday.
One of the stranded passengers who spoke with our correspondent on the condition of anonymity decried the delay in the evacuation of the plane, saying it took more than 24 hours before the aircraft was evacuated.
It was learnt that one passenger who was to travel to the US on Saturday had to go by road on Friday as the airport was shut.
The Ilorin Airport Manager, Tayo Oginni confirmed that the runway has been reopened.
Confirming the incident, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) said the aircraft had a burst tyre on landing. It however said it was not investigating it.
Spokesman of AIB, Tunji Oketunbi said, “It happened yesterday. AIB Safety investigators did an evaluation of the occurrence and decided not to investigate. The Aeroplane has been released to the Operator (Air Peace). The delay in opening the Airport is due to the recovery of the Aeroplane from the Runway by FAAN and Airpeace.
“We enjoin all media practitioners to verify every information before going to press.”
Air Peace also confirmed the report of the burst tyre and said there was nothing like a crash as reported by another medium, describing it as misleading.
In a statement, the airline said the incident was “misrepresented and exaggerated.”
“We can confirm that the aircraft in question landed safely but had a minimal tyre burst while taxing. This debunks all the mischievously headlined reports circulating online, which should be disregarded.
“Our aircraft neither crashed nor crash landed in Ilorin or in any place for that matter. This kind of sensationalism is bad and was intended to cause panic in the minds of the flying public.
“It was duly reported to the authorities and passengers disembarked seamlessly. The tyres have, however, been fixed and aircraft is intact. We condemn sensational publication of falsehood.
“Air Peace is committed to providing peaceful connectivity across cities and relentlessly observes the highest standards of safety in its operations.”