The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) has dismissed report that a Max Air aircraft carrying more than 500 pilgrims from Saudi Arabia to Nigeria crash landed at Minna International Airport on Saturday.
Some national dailies, it was observed, had earlier reported that a plane conveying about 500 pilgrims in the 2019 pilgrimage from Saudi Arabia crash landed at the airport.
But, according to the report, no pilgrim was injured or death recorded in the incident.
“Nobody died, but I have never seen this type of thing in my life, only God saved them from a terrible disaster,” NAN had quoted a source as saying.
“The fire that would have followed would have spread to all parts of the airport because we don’t have fire fighting vehicles in this airport.”
However, Concise News understands that the NAHCON Chairman, Abdullahi Muhammad, said on Sunday that immediately the commission heard about the aforementioned incident, it got 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,” Muhammad told NAN.
”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.”
The airline also dismissed the report.
But it said that there was torrential rain with unstable wind when the plane was landing at the airport.
“The instrument landing system at the airport was epileptic with unreliable signals,” Capt. Ibrahim Dili, Director of Flight Operations of the airline, said.
“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.”
According to him, the slight brush of the engine was due to the complex landing maneuvers, 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 aircrafti and the runway and were satisfied with the outcome of their inspection.