Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says he was calm while on board an Ethiopian Airline flight that nearly crashed on Wednesday, May 29 at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial city.
Narrating his experience while on board the aeroplane in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES, the ex-military head of state said:” he remained calm and read papers while the scary situation occurred.”
His words: “While it all happened, I was reading my papers,” said Mr Obasanjo. “One man, who was next to me, said, ‘Oga you no worry?’ I said, ‘Íf I worry, what will I do? If you are on a plane and you have a situation like this, why should you worry?’ I left everything in the hands of God.”
This online news platform understands that the former President was returning from a stakeholders dialogue on continental trade and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCFTA) which ended on Tuesday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia when the incident occurred.
The Ethiopian Airline flight, with 394 persons on board, had a false landing due to strong winds and a heavy downpour and was about to overshoot its runway before it returned to the air.
Naija News learned that the plane later landed safely at the airport after spending about 10 minutes in the air.
“I was on Ethiopian Airline. Rain just came down heavily,” the former President recalled.
“The pilot thought he could land. And he landed. He touched down. But I think he took a swift decision that he had to take off again.
“So he took off. If he did not, I think he probably would have overrun the runway. He then apologised and said he would try to land again. He tried again, and we landed safely. And we all clapped.”
Obasanjo said the pilot first landed the plane at about 12:20 p.m. before the incident, but finally landed safely on return at 12:30 p.m.
“He touched the ground. Then he took off and apologised and landed again at about 12.30. We spent just about 10 minutes in the air before we landed again,” he said.
Meanwhile, Naija News reports that the incident came after an Ethiopian Airline, B-737 MAX 800 aircraft suffered a crash in March which killed all 157 persons on board. Two Nigerians died in the crash.
The aircraft en route Nairobi from Addis Ababa, crashed six minutes after takeoff around Bishoftu, 40 miles South-east of the Ethiopian capital.