No Plane Carrying Muslim Pilgrims Crash Landed In Minna – NAHCON

The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) says there is no truth
in a media report that a Max Airline plane carrying over 500 pilgrims
from Saudi Arabia to Nigeria crash-landed at Minna International Airport
on Saturday.

The Chairman of the commission, Alhaji Abdullahi
Muhammad, said this in a telephone interview with the News Agency of
Nigeria (NAN) from Makkah, Saudi Arabia on Sunday.

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He said
immediately the story filtered into the public domain, the commission
conducted its findings into the purported development by getting in
touch with the management of the airline concerned and interviewed some
passengers that boarded the said plane.

“The result of our
findings showed that there is no such thing as emergency landing or
crash landing of any plane in Minna involving pilgrims being transported
back to Nigeria by the commission.

“Some of the passengers we
talked with on the issue even said they were hearing the purported news
for the first time and that there was no such development as far as
they were concerned,” Muhammad said.

The management of Max Air,
which also denied the report, however, said there was heavy torrential
rain with unstable wind when the plane was landing at the airport.

Capt.
Ibrahim Dili, Director of Flight Operations of the airline, while
reacting to the report, said that at the time of arrival, there was
heavy torrential rain with unstable winds.

“The instrument landing system at the airport was epileptic with unreliable signals.

“Our
pilots executed an approach, using their wealth of experience,
knowledge of the terrain and environment to a safe landing and stop on
the runway during which one of engines slightly brushed the runway.”

The
slight brush of the engine, Dili said, was due to the complex landing
maneuvers occasioned by the strong downdraft, stressing that the
aircraft did not crash or skid off.

According to him, the aircraft taxied safely to the airport terminal and passengers disembarked without any problem.

He, however, said that all required reports of the “minor incident” had been filled.

Dili
said officials of the Nigerian Civil Aviation (NCAA) and Accident
Investigation Bureau (AIB) inspected the aircraft and the runway and
were satisfied with the outcome of their inspection.

NAN recalls
that some dailies had earlier reported that a plane conveying about 600
pilgrims in the 2019 pilgrimage from Saudi Arabia crash-landed at the
Minna International Airport.

It said that the aircraft was said
to have developed technical fault in one of its four engines and skidded
off the runway while approaching the airport.

The report, however, said no pilgrim was injured or death recorded in the incident.

Meanwhile,
a check on the command and control centre of NAHCON showed that the
commission has so far conducted 80 flights with 38,807 pilgrims
transported back to Nigeria as at Sept. 7.

The centre disclosed that Max Air, with registration no. 2098 departed Jeddah to Kano via Katsina with 529 pilgrims.

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