By Dipo Olowookere
The alleged falling of an emergency door of Dana Air few days ago has continued to raise concerns over safety of the aviation industry in Nigeria.
A passenger had posted on social media of an incident that occurred when the exit door of the plane belonging to the airline fell off after landing and whilst taxing at the Abuja airport.
One of the passengers identified as Ola Brown had posted on his Twitter handle that, “(I) flew Dana (Air and the) exit door was unstable throughout flight. As we touched down, it fell off. Scary stuff!
“I was closer to the front so when I heard the sound, (I) thought it was an explosion. (I) couldn’t quite comprehend that it (the door) had just fallen off.”
The post generated mixed reactions from many Nigerians, who called for a thorough investigation into the incident.
But reacting, Dana Air, in a statement on Wednesday, claimed one of the passengers must have pushed the door to fall off.
According to the airline operator, the emergency exit door of the aircraft, by design, is a plug-type backed by pressure, which ordinary cannot fall off without tampering or conscious effort to open by a crew member or passenger.
Dana Air said before it took off, some engineers carried out their routine checks on the plane and rubbished claims of negligence on its part.
”We wish to state categorically that this could never have happened without a conscious effort by a passenger to open it.
“By design, the emergency exit door of our aircraft are plug-type backed by pressure, which ordinary cannot fall off without tampering or conscious effort to open by a crew member or passenger.
“We also wish to enlighten the author that, when an aircraft is airborne, it is fully pressurized and there was no way the seat or door could have been ‘shaking’ as insinuated.
“A thorough inspection was however carried out on the said aircraft upon landing in Abuja, by our engineers and a team from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), and no issue was reported. There was also no threat to safety at any point.
“The flight was only delayed for 8 minutes as we needed to demonstrate to the regulators that the safety and comfort of our guests is at the centre of our operations.
“We wish to apologize to our guests for any inconvenience such report may have caused and for the slight delay on the return service to Lagos.
“A thorough investigation of the concerned passenger is ongoing.
“As one of the oldest and most experienced airline in Nigeria, we remain committed to global best practices,” Dana Air said yesterday in a statement through its Communications Manager, Mr Kingsley Ezenwa.
However, one of the passengers released a video of the incident, showing nobody around the affected emergency exit door.
Other passengers were seen and heard in the visual clip making comments on the incident and capturing it as well with their mobile phones.
Meanwhile, the Senate President, Me Bukola Saraki, has promised that the Senate will take up the matter.
Mr Saraki described the incident as “unacceptable” saying airline operators must put safety of passengers first before anything else.
“Thank the Almighty for your safe landing. The safety of passengers and conditions of aircrafts must be the primary concern of all airlines that are operating in Nigeria.
“An airline door falling off is unacceptable.
“We will take this up at the Senate. It must not happen again,” the Senate President said.
Also, the aviation industry regulator in the country, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), has commenced an investigation into the case.
General Manager, Public Affairs at NCAA, Mr Sam Adurogboye, disclosed yesterday that a four-man panel has been set up to re-certify the aircraft.
“What actually happened just like you heard, yes the plane when landing and taxing, the emergency exit door came down, that was the report I heard and I had to quickly find out also.
“I found out in our system and I was told by Airworthiness that Dana Air notified them and they raised a four-man team to go and look at the aeroplane.
“The report of our team will confirm to us what really happened,” Mr Adurogboye said.
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