By Chinelo Obogo

The Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) has commenced investigation into the runway excursion incident that occurred on Tuesday, April 23, involving a Dana Air McDonnell Douglas MD-82 aircraft at the domestic wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

NSIB said the incident occurred at 9.20am local time and that preliminary fact-finding revealed that the airlines’ flight 9J0352 with registration number, 5N-BKI, carrying 83 passengers and six crew members, departed Abuja at 8:20am local time and arrived in Lagos around 9:20am. NSIB said it had been raining and the runway 18L surface was wet but the aircraft had a technical problem with its landing gear and experienced directional control problems after landing, which made it veer off the runway to the left and travel onto the grassy area near the runway 18L link 6 turn-off point. There were no reported fatalities or injuries.

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The Director General of the Bureau, Alex Badeh, said: “We have commenced an investigation to determine the full circumstances surrounding the runway excursion event involving a Dana Air MD-82 aircraft with registration marking 5N-BKI. The investigation team has retrieved the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder, which will be taken to our lab for data download.

“The transcript from the Air Traffic Controllers Tower and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria will also be included for forensic analysis and further investigation. The NSIB team has also measured the aircraft’s veering point from the runway to its final stop on the grass. Crew members have been interviewed and undergone toxicology tests. As of today, all stakeholders involved in the operation of this aircraft, including the manufacturer, are being notified for their comments to be included in our report.”

“The NSIB’s investigation of this incident will examine all aspects, including the airworthiness status of the aircraft, operational policies, human factors, weather condition, health and mental status of the crew, aircraft maintenance records, and any previous incidents involving this aircraft’s landing gear system. In accordance with international aviation safety protocols, a preliminary report containing a summary of basic fact-finding about the incident will be released within 30 days. A final report with safety recommendations will be issued at the conclusion of the investigation. Protecting lives and maintaining public confidence in air travel is our utmost priority.”