The Dana Air plane that overshot the runway at the Port Harcourt International Airport in Rivers State on Tuesday damaged navigational equipment at the airport, the Federal Government announced on Wednesday.
According to the government, the MD83 aircraft, with registration number 5N-SRI and flight number 0348, had 54 souls on board, including five crew members.
It also stated that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority had heightened safety oversight on the airline, adding that the Accident Investigation Bureau had commenced investigation into the incident in accordance with the rules of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
The Deputy Director of Press and Public Affairs at the Aviation arm of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, James Odaudu, stated that the Port Harcourt airport was briefly closed for safety reasons after the incident occurred.
Odaudu noted that the airport was “reopened after proper assessment this morning (Wednesday)”.
In a statement issued in Abuja, Odaudu said, “Damage to the aircraft (was) substantial with damage to ground navigation equipment.
“Meanwhile, the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) has commenced investigation in accordance with ICAO Annex 13, while the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority has heightened safety oversight over the operator”.
The ministry stated that the aircraft, which landed at the Port Harcourt Runway 21 and overran the runway, had its entire passengers and crew members evacuated safely without any casualty.
On the weather condition at the time of the incident, the ministry added that there was heavy rainfall.
It said, “However, efforts are in place to continuously enhance safety and security in our industry in accordance with the reformation agenda of the Buhari administration for the aviation sector”.
“The ministry sympathises with the passengers on the aircraft over the traumatic experience and assures that the government will not abdicate on its commitment to the safety and security of lives and property in the Nigerian airspace”.
Meanwhile, the Consumer Protection Council, CPC, has called for better treatment of those involved in the Dana Air incident in Port Harcourt.
The CPC said in a statement that while all passengers and crew were safely evacuated without injuries, there was a need for thorough investigation to determine the cause of the incident.
The statement read in part, “The Consumer Protection Council congratulates relevant airport and aviation authorities as well as the airline for this safe evacuation and management of what could otherwise have been tragic.
“The Council further calls for calm as we await more information and a detailed investigation by the Accident Investigation Bureau in compliance with ICAO standards.
“In addition, the council has been in communication with the airline and the NCAA. The council understands that Dana Air has provided logistic support and accommodation to passengers. The council insists that this must comply with minimum standards in accordance with prevailing regulations under Part 19, Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) 2015.