Politics

Obasanjo reveals how he and 393 others escaped an Ethiopian plane crash in Lagos on Wednesday

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has confirmed that he was on board in an Ethiopian Airline that almost crashed at the Murtala Muhammmed International Airport in Lagos.

The incident happened on Wednesday afternoon around 12:20pm when the pilot tried unsuccessfully to land at the Lagos airport. The situation was caused by the downpour in Lagos.

Unable to land successfully, the pilot got the plane back on air, flying around Lagos and Ogun area before eventually returning to the Lagos airport to land about 10 minutes later (12:30pm).

“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,” Obasanjo revealed.

The Boeing 777-300 had 394 passengers on-board including Obasanjo; Ambassador Ayoola Olukanni, the Director General of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mine and Agriculture; Mr. Samson Adebayo, the Director of Ports Inspection, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

Obasanjo had travelled to Addis Ababa to attend a stakeholders dialogue on continental trade and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.

The airline departed the Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia around 7am Nigerian time (9am Ethiopian time).

The former president who spoke to Premium Times after the incident said that he remained calm and read papers while the disturbing situation occurred.

“While it all happened, I was reading my papers. 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,” Obasanjo said (as seen on Premium Times).

“I was on Ethiopian Airline. Rain just came down heavily.”

“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.”

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