Facts are beginning to emerge on how efforts were made to cover up an accident by an aircraft in the fleet Air Peace, following which the runway of the Ilorin International Airport was closed to traffic.
The accident happened at about 9.30 am on Friday, July 24, 2021, during a flight from Abuja to Ilorin and many passengers, including some highly-placed Nigerians, were reported to have narrowly escaped death and all flights to Ilorin were cancelled until the evacuation of the plane.
An official of the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said FAAN and other agencies were requested to keep the incident under wraps.
“We were directed to manage the situation,” the source said.
According to reports, the aircraft crash-landed with a bang, which affected the cabin with luggage falling on passengers.
It was gathered with the impact of the crash the plane could not taxi to the tarmac and as a result all the traumatised passengers were successfully evacuated from the runway.
In March 2021,an aircraft belonging to Air Peace had a tyre burst while landing at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, however, there was no casualty recorded as all the 127 passengers and six crew members on board were rescued.
In a swift reaction, the management of Air Peace says its aircraft en-route Ilorin from Abuja had a “minimal tyre burst” after landing at the Ilorin international airport, Kwara state.
Air Peace, in a statement on Saturday, sent to TheCable, described the report as “sensational publication of falsehood”, noting that no such incident happened.
“For the record, no such thing happened. The reports misrepresented and exaggerated the facts. We can confirm that the aircraft in question landed safely but had a minimal tyre burst while taxing,” the statement reads.
“This debunks all the mischievously headlined reports circulating online, which should be disregarded.
Our aircraft neither crashed nor crash landed in Ilorin or in any place for that matter. This kind of sensationalism is bad and was intended to cause panic in the minds of the flying public.
“It was duly reported to the authorities and passengers disembarked seamlessly. The tyres have, however, been fixed and the aircraft is intact. We condemn sensational publication of falsehood.”