A Max Air aircraft conveying many air passengers, including the Emir of Kano, Aminu Ado Bayero, escaped death by whiskers as Kano-Abuja Max Air aircraft developed engine failure, 10 minutes after take-off from the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport, MAKIA.
It was gathered that the aircraft with the number VM1645 which was slated for take-off at 1:30 pm had a 30 minutes delay and was only about 10 minutes in the air when it reportedly began to swerve until it made a detour.
It was initially thought that the incident was caused by an engine failure, but sources including a passenger onboard attributed it to a bird strike.
Narrating the incident, one of the passengers, Dr Samaila Suleiman, said it was a near-death incident, accusing the airliner of negligence.
Sulaiman disclosed that he heard a strange sound when the aircraft was taking off but dismissed any strange feeling of insecurity.
He said: “I heard a strange sound during the take-off but brushed it aside. I have used aircraft many times but had never heard such a sound during take-off.
“The cabin crew members and the pilot were helpless because they lost control of the aircraft.
“No radio announcement was made until we saw ourselves back at the airport where we took off.
“It was a near-death experience. I and many other passengers were traumatised. Many of us cancelled to trip and returned home.”
However, the Director of Maintenance of the airline, Engineer Muhammed Mubaraq debunked the claim that it was a near-death experience.
He said, “What happened was that during take-off, we had a bird strike and the number two engine ingested some birds and damaged the blade.
“Our pilot followed the normal procedure and made an air return on landing. When he landed, the engineers inspected it and replaced the damaged blade. They carried out normal maintenance procedure and released the aircraft.
“As I am talking to you, I flew the same aircraft to Abuja. It is very wrong to say they had a near-death experience.”
According to him, there was nothing untoward with what happened.
He said bird strike is a common occurrence and the pilot did the right thing by making an air return.
He added that passengers were disembarked safely without any risk.