Pilgrims have recounted their ordeal inside the Boeing 744 aircraft, owned by Max Air, as it made it way down to the tarmac from the sky, with many of the passengers experiencing hysteria while at least three women lost consciousness.
A Boeing 744 with registration number 5N/DBK carrying Niger pilgrims and officials on Saturday had crash-landed causing panic at the Minna International Airport.
Part of the tarmac and some materials were also damaged by the aircraft which skidded off the runway.
The aircraft had taken off from King Abdul-Aziz International Airport, Jeddah with 560 passengers and 19 crew members, it was gathered.
An eyewitness said most of the passengers were in shock, while two pilgrims fainted.
A medical official onboard told Daily Trust on Sunday that passengers became panicky by unusual noise when the aircraft approached the airport.
She said everybody was reciting verses from the holy Qur’an and praying.
Another returning pilgrim who was in the affected aircraft, Hajiya Asabe, said they were terrified, adding that as a result of the development, three women fainted.
“It was Allah that saved the situation. There was this loud noise which caused panic and shouts from all corners.
“We started praying and then there was an impact during the landing process that shook the entire plane, which also heightened the panic.
“But Alhamdulillah, we all safe aside from those who fainted and were rushed to General Hospital, Minna.
“When we alighted, we noticed that the aircraft landed by the side and part of its wings were cracked,” she explained.
She said from the discussion by the officials, the pilot must have made a mistake during the landing process.
“We heard them saying it was a technical problem and that the pilot didn’t really get his acts right,” she added.
Meanwhile, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) said it has commenced an investigation into the incident involving a Max Air aircraft.
The bureau said Max Air had notified it of the “serious incident” involving the airline’s Boeing 747-400 aircraft with nationality and registration marks 5N-DBK which occurred during the final approach on runway 23 of the airport.
What would have been another tragedy in the Nigerian aviation sector was averted on Saturday as a Max Air aircraft with 550 passengers crash-landed at the Minna International Airport in Niger State.
SaharaReporters had reported that a Boeing 747-300 with registration number 5N-DBK, developed fault mid-air leading to the collapse of one of the four engines of the aircraft.