Delta incident: A serious incident, no external fire, AIB analysis will reveal….Capt.Muhtar

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DG NCAA Captain Muktar Usman

…….Delta begins airlift of passengers tomorrow…airline

The Director General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Muhtar Usman has said that the Delta flight 55 from Lagos which did an emergency landing on Tuesday at Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos, reportedly had one of the two engines of the A330-200 on fire.

Capt. Usman made the revelation yesterday in Lagos while answering questions relating to the serious incident which occurred in Lagos Tuesday night.

The DG who said he had been at the site of the accident, confirmed that, from what he saw, the incident was a serious one.

He pointed out that by International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards and also in line with the Act that sets up the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), the agency will be investigating the accident to determine the cause and also make safety recommendations to prevent such from happening again.

Usman said “Well, again, it was reportedly on fire, the captain requested or declared what we call MayDay, which was an emergency that he wanted to come back citing one of the engines was on fire, requesting for emergency services and all the agencies that were required to be there were there for that aircraft to ensure that everything went smoothly, the aircraft landed safely, there was precautionary evacuation of passengers, however, details of the cause and recommendation will come from the AIB”.

On possible cause of the incident, Usman said that they don’t speculate on causes of accidents and that it is only investigation that would be able to determine what could have caused the fire; whether it was an actual fire or maybe it was just an indication because there are sensors that are supposed to sense fire and alert the crew for their necessary action.

“So we would not be able to know what could cause the fire. In the case of fire, Well, basically most convention engines are always on fire, we only call fire when it goes out of control it when we can no longer control it and provisions are made so that when you have such indications and you can extinguish the fire because we have firefighting facilities on board which is either through a button or switch to be able to discharge or extinguish the fire, all the while the pilot is maneuver the engine to safe landing”, he said.

Capt. Usman said that, the fire was contained within and there was no sign of fire externally, just as he maintained that further analysis by the AIB would be able to say more.

In line with the Act and ICAO annex 13, the NCAA boss also pointed out that, this being classified as serious incident, the onus or the responsibility to do the investigation rest with the country of occurrence.

“In this case it happened in Nigeria, so the AIB Nigeria will carry out the investigation and in line with the ICAO, the country of manufacturer and the country of registry and the country of operation. In this cases which happens to be the United States of America is expected to be part of it, their level of participation I would not know but I think the AIB should be able to say more about that”, he said.

On what could lead to an engine fire, Usman said “There are so many things that could cause engine failure, we know for now, most of the conventional engines use fuel and air to mix, compress, burn and use them to develop thrust, any time you starve engines of the means of sustenance such as fuel, you can have a failure and there are other failures as a result of fatigue that you can have, as long as they are contained. The aircraft is designed to be able to take the crew to a destination that will be suitable for a landing and the crew are also trained normally to handle emergency situations like that.

Usman also confirmed that there was no loss of lives but some people were injured.

In their response to the incident, Delta Airline in an official statement issued Wednesday night stated that Delta Airline Delta flight 55 from Lagos, Nigeria to Atlanta returned to Lagos International Airport Tuesday after an issue with one of the A330-200’s two engines.

It added that the flight landed safely and customers exited the aircraft on the runway via emergency slides, emphasizing that Airport fire authorities met the aircraft upon arrival while Delta’s customers were bussed back to the terminal.

Noting that the airline is aware of five customers reporting non-critical injuries as a result of the evacuation, it further stated “Delta teams have provided overnight hotel accommodations to customers and will rebook customers on an alternate Delta aircraft Wednesday afternoon. The safety of Delta’s customers and crew members is always our top priority.

“As at some minutes to 3pm Nigerian Time, Wednesday 14th February 2018, Delta Air Lines can confirm that a Delta aircraft arrived Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to airlift Nigerian passengers to the United States tonight”.

“The airline can also confirm that in the early hours of Thursday, 15th February 2018, another Delta Air Lines aircraft will arrive Lagos Airport to airlift more Nigerians to the US same day”, Delta Airline assured.

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