Again, United Nigeria aircraft skids off Lagos runway, NSIB begins probe

BARELY three months after a United Nigeria Airlines aircraft skidded off the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) runway, another flight belonging to the organisation skidded off the runway again on Friday, September 8, while landing.

In a statement seen by The ICIR on Saturday, September 9, United Nigeria Airlines confirmed that its flight U5 0513, with registration 5N-BWY, upon landing, encountered aquaplaning due to a downpour.

The aircraft had onboard 51 passengers and four crew members, according to the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB).

In aviation parlance, aquaplaning occurs when an aircraft lands on a wet runway at high speed, causing the tires to lose runway contact and the plane no longer responsive to steering.

In May this year, a United Nigeria Airlines aircraft, 5N-BWW, with 50 passengers on board, flying in from the airport in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state, also skidded off runway 18L at the Murtala MMA2 in Lagos.

The aircraft landed safely but was forced to terminate its movement to the apron off the runway.

Explaining the recent incident, United Nigeria Airlines’ head of corporate communications, Achilleus-Chud Uchegbu, said, “The aircraft which was coming in from the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport Owerri operated and landed normally but skidded off the runway upon landing.”

He said no passenger was hurt in the incident, and all passengers were safely evacuated with their luggage.

“Relevant authorities have been informed about the incident,” the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, the NSIB has commenced an investigation into the latest incident.

    The NSIB spokesman, Tunji Oketunbi, while confirming the incident that 51 passengers and four crew members were onboard the aircraft, sought information from the general public to assist in conducting a comprehensive investigation.

    He said, “NSIB has been notified and commenced investigation into a serious incident involving an Embraer ERJ145 with Nationality and Registration Marks 5N-BWY belonging to United Nigeria Airlines, which occurred around 06:33pm (Local Time) on 8th September 2023.

    “The aircraft, with 51 passengers and four crew members onboard, was en route Lagos from Owerri. The aircraft on landing on Runway 18R of Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, skidded off the runway.”

    He also confirmed that there was no injury or fatality.

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