Overland Airways ATR aircraft caught fire Friday at the company’s hangar located at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.
This was confirmed by the Manager, Corporate Affairs of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mrs. Henrietta Yakubu, who said the incident occurred in the early hours of Friday.
She said nobody was injured in the fire incident.
Passengers and other airport users were frightened when they saw heavy smoke billowing from that side of the airport. Fire fighters rushed through the airside of Runway 18L to the facility to put out the fire.
Eyewitness account disclosed to THISDAY that the aircraft which was under maintenance was being tested by the company’s technical personnel at the time of the incident. He said the personnel tried to use a motored the engine inside the hanger and as the propeller began to spin, it hit the ground power which sparked and caught fire.
Two tyres of the aircraft also caught fire and burst, sending huge smoke into the air. No one was injured in the incident.
“I went to the tarmac to see what happened. They were trying to motor the engine in the hangar, which is not done, especially for turbo props. We don’t do that because the rotor will be moving. So when they did that it hit ground power.
“The ground power sparked and caught fire and the two tyres of the aircraft caught fire and burst and the aircraft went into flames. The three persons in the aircraft walked out of the aircraft.
“Motoring is a situation where you switch on the ignition without fully starting the engine. In a car, it is when you switch on the car halfway without starting the engine. You can listen and play music, wound down the glass and honk,” the eyewitness who is also a pilot explained.
Mrs. Yakubu said there was no official reason for the fire but added that the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) would soon swing into action.