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21 Feb 2018

Dana Air: Stranded passengers yet to retrieve luggage from damaged aircraft

The 49 passengers of the Dana Air plane that on Tuesday night skidded off the runway, while landing at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa in Rivers State are yet to retrieve their luggage from the damaged aircraft, almost 24 hours after the incident.

The displeased passengers, as at press time Wednesday, 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 also 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, thereby ensuring thorough investigation.

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.

The plane skidded off the runway, because of sudden heavy rain, which was accompanied by strong wind and storm, while FAAN officials, on Tuesday night, evacuated the passengers and crew members, without any casualty.

FAAN’s General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, stated that the aircraft overshot the runway, while 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, with all passengers and crew members disembarking safely.

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