Passenger blamed for Nigerian airline door falling off


JOHANNESBURG, February 9 – A door of a Nigerian Dana Air plane, that was taxing down the runway after landing from a flight from Lagos to Abuja, fell off with the airline blaming a passenger, Kenya’s Daily Nation reported on Friday.

The airline vehemently denied that the door had fallen off due to a mechanical fault stating that it would have been impossible for the door to fall off “without a conscious effort by a passenger to open it”.

However, a passenger on board told the BBC that everyone on board had denied tampering with the door.

Dapo Sanwo, from Lagos, said: “The flight was noisy with vibrations from the floor panel. I noticed the emergency door latch was loose and dangling.”

“When we landed and the plane was taxiing back to the park point, we heard a poof-like explosion, followed by a surge of breeze and noise. It was terrible.”

“The cabin crew tried to say a passenger pulled the hatch which everyone denied. They also tried to get us to stop taking videos or pictures.”

But in a responding statement Dana Air denied there were issues with the door during the flight.

“The emergency exit doors of our aircraft are plug-type backed by pressure, which ordinarily cannot fall off without tampering or a conscious effort to open by a crew member or passenger,” the company said.

“When an aircraft is airborne, it is fully pressurised and there was no way the seat or door could have been shaking as insinuated.”

The airline added that the plane had also been inspected by engineers accompanying a Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority team who green-lighted the aircraft.

“The return flight was only delayed for eight minutes as we needed to demonstrate to the regulators that the safety and comfort of our guests is at the centre of our operations,” the statement added.

In 2012, a Dana Air flight crashed in a busy Lagos suburb killing all 153 people on board.

Last year, Abuja’s airport was closed for six weeks while major repairs were carried out on its runway.

– African News Agency (ANA)