Another major air disaster was averted on Friday evening when an Arik aircraft aborted landing at Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital barely about 500 meters from the tarmac due to power cut at the airport.
The sudden power outage forced the pilot to hurriedly terminate his landing plan and fly back to the sky where it hovered for about 30 minutes before flying back to Abuja because the person to turn on the alternative power source was not nowhere to be found.
The passengers on Arik Flight W3 533, including the Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Chidi odinkalu, and some unnamed federal lawmakers, said to be heading to Uyo for a retreat.
The flight, originally scheduled for 6:25 pm, left Abuja at about 7 pm. It returned to Abuja at 9: 35 pm. after hovering in the sky for over 30 minutes in expectation that authorities at the Uyo airport would be able to light the runway to enable it to land.
This incident appears to confirm reports of probes by aviation authorities into air crashes in the country which have blamed most of them on avoidable human errors.
The Nigeria’s Aviation Investigation Bureau (AIB) had in some of its reports blamed avoidable human errors and dereliction of duty by public officials working in the aviation sector as major reasons for the loss of hundreds of lives in air crashes in Nigeria.
The bureau, which is saddled with the responsibility of investigating air accidents in the country, stated these in its reports after the crashes involving two airlines, Sky Executive Aviation Services (SEAS) and Sosoliso airline in 2002 and 2005 respectively.
Some of the human errors identified by the AIB as causes of plane crashes include non-lightening of runways and airfields (as it happened last night), poorly constructed drainage culverts, inaccurate information by the control tower, lack of proper certification of radio operators and poor supervision of aircraft imported into the country.