El Rufai, 103 others escape death as Aero plane's tyre bursts on landing

By The Rainbow

FORMER Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mallam Nasir el-Rufai and  103 others escaped death on Sunday, as a Boeing 737 plane belonging to Aero Airlines that flee them from Abuja to Lagos had a burst tyre on landing at the Mutala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.

The aircraft, with estimated 104 passengers and crew on board, had taken off from Abuja at , around 9.00a.m. Former Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir El Rufai, was one of the passengers in the aircraft when the incident happened.

Insight into what happened was provided through tweets by el-Rufai.

His tweets read,  'Upon landing in Lagos, our Aero aircraft lost a tyre. The pilot did a great job of breaking to a halt suitably. My phones flew under seats.' He added, 'It was amusing hearing shouts of Allah Akbar and Jesus, Jesu while the dutiful captain was trying to slow the plane down to a safe location! 'One of the passengers joked that he knew nothing would happen to us as I was onboard, nice of him, but Allah Decides our fate in His Way.' According to el-Rufai,  'The Aero pilot was good, the cabin staff calm and professional in the midst of mild drama and little panic by a few passengers. We Thank God'

A director of the airline, who did not want to be named, was quoted as saying that the burst tyre was immediately replaced by engineers of the airline.

According to him,  airline was currently waiting for the approval of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) for the aircraft to commence operations, insisting that it was a minor incident, normal in aircraft operations.

Aero is one of the two domestic carriers the Federal Government is packaging to form a new national carrier for Nigerians.

But Spokesman of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Mr Yakubu Dati, confirmed the incident in a statement.

He said,  'An aircraft Boeing 737-500 with Registration No 5N-BLC, operated by Aero contractors landed safely at the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Lagos, following loss of pressure in one of the tyres, today December 29, 2013″. 'The aircraft which landed at 10.50am had a total of 104 passengers and crew members on board. 'The aircraft has since been towed to the apron and Accident Investigation Prevention Bureau, AIPB has commenced investigation into the incident.'

This coming barely two months after an Associated Airline plane crashed in Lagos, killing some its passengers.