Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has confirmed he was among those on board the Ethiopian Airlines flight that nearly crashed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on Wednesday.
Obasanjo narrated how the pilot had difficulty landing as a result of strong winds and a heavy downpour.
NAN had reported that the Ethiopian Airlines aircraft, ET-901, had departed the Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa at 7am (Nigerian time).
Obasanjo had attended a stakeholders’ dialogue on Continental Trade and Strengthening Implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) in Ethiopia.
Close to 400 passengers are said to be on board the flight which had been smooth until the pilot attempted to land at the airport.
Obasanjo, who was returning to Lagos, said he “remained calm” while reading his papers during the chaotic situation.
“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,” the former president was quoted as saying.
“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.
“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.
“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.”
Otori Jimoh Otan, duty manager and chief customer service (Nigeria) of the airline, had told NAN that if the pilot had continued taxing down after landing on the third touch line, he would have overshot the runway.