Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos
By Chinedu Eze
IRS flight LVB 3306 was aborted Wednesday at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos when its wing hit a sewage truck owned by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) while taxing to take off on its way to Kano en-route Abuja.
The aircraft, which taxied out at 7:48 am with 91 passengers had to return to the domestic terminal when the pilot of the flight, Captain D. Kelly, observed the FAAN truck in a ditch close to the runway.
“There were no marshallers around it, neither was there any marking to indicate that it encroached into the taxi way. There was no NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) issued to that effect as well,” according to the statement issued by IRS.
But the captain continued on his taxing and the wing tip hit a protrusion from the truck towards its rear, which made the Captain request for a return to ramp (terminal) from the control tower and also notified the tower of the incident and the danger posed by the truck.
The passengers were disembarked and re-accommodated in another aircraft which departed Lagos at 10:15am and the incident was reported to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
But FAAN said in a statement that the IRS Captain was warned about the broken down truck but the agency did not explain why it was not evacuated and it parked there overnight as the runway is a safety critical place to allow a broken-down truck to park for more than two hours.
“The pilot Capt. D Kelly of IRS was informed by an Arik pilot of an obstruction on the taxiway towards Runway 18L and the former felt he could manoeuvre the obstacle by his own judgment but this failed because the tip of the wing of the aircraft collided with a section of the gully emptier at about 7.45 a.m.,” FAAN said.
No passenger or crew sustained injuries as a result of the incident as all the passengers were later transferred to another IRS flight to Abuja.
Officials of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and the NCAA were immediately invited to the scene of the incident for an on-the-spot assessment of the incident while engineers of the FAAN were placed on stand-by to evacuate the stuck sewage tanker as soon as preliminary investigations by both AIB and NCAA were concluded.
“The authority wishes to assure members of the public, especially airline operators and passengers, that the minor incident did not, and will not, in any way, disrupt flight operations at the airport,” the agency said.