MAX Air aircraft reportedly crash lands with 600 pilgrims at Minna Airport
A Boeing 744 with registration number 5N/ DBK, carrying about 600 Niger pilgrims and officials, side-landed on Saturday, causing panic at the Minna International Airport.
Daily Trust learnt that the aircraft, which arrived the airport from Jiddah at about 04:55am, had technical problem leading to its forced landing.
Part of the tarmac and some materials were also damaged by the aircraft which skidded off the runway.
It was learnt that the development caused damage to one of the aircraft’s engines.
An eyewitness said most of the passengers were in shock, while two pilgrims fainted.
A medical official on board told Daily Trust that passengers were traumatized by an unusual noise when the aircraft approached the airport.
She said every body was reciting verses from the holy Qur’an and praying.
Also, a returning pilgrim, who was in the affected aircraft, Hajiya Asabe, said they were terrified, adding that as a result of the development, three women went into coma.
But, in a swift reaction, the management of the airline company said the aircraft did not crash land, nor skid off the runway.
In a statement signed by Capt. Ibrahim G. Dilli, Director Flight Operations, explained that there was heavy downpour with unstable winds in Minna when the aircraft 747-400, registered 5N-DBK was about to land at the airport from Jeddah, causing the instrument landing system to be epileptic and unstable signals.
According to him, it was by the wealth of experience of the pilots, coupled with the knowledge of the terrain and environment that the plane was able to land safely and stopped on the runway.
He added that during the effort to safe land the aircraft that one of its engine slightly brushed the runway due to complex landing maneuver, occassioned by the strong down draft, stressing that the plane did not crash land and skid off the runway.