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Anxiety for Air Peace as NCAA begins probe of cabin depressurization

As serious anxiety is in the air following the announcement by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to begin full investigations on any form of neglected safety checks on the ill-fated Air Peace Lagos to Enugu-bound flight last Friday, December 14, 2018, there are fears that the airline may be severally sanctioned if found culpable in the traumatic experience of passengers on-board.
Business Hilights gathered that the air craft had lost cabin pressure mid-air, necessitating the release of oxygen masks for passengers which caused nearly fatal experiences by passengers.
Though it has not been revealed whether the affected air craft was among the newly purchased airlines, recounted experiences of some of the passengers raised serious issues of poor maintenance culture as the Lagos State All Progressive Congress (APC) Public Relations Officer, Engineer Joe Igbokwe, who happens to be a victim gave graphic details of happenstances on board.
His first comment on his experience on that fateful Friday, December 14, 2018 was “Thanking God for averting what would have been a monumental tragedy today in Nigeria”.
Continuing, he said “I had a 7 am Air Peace flight to Enugu this morning on my way to Makurdi Benue State Nigeria to attend the 3rd Conference of All-State APC Publicity Secretaries. By 7 am all the passengers were already in the Aircraft ready to go. The aircraft did not leave.
“The Pilot told us that they are waiting for the completion of paper works. It was a big lie. The aircraft was having technical problems. Through the window I saw Air Peace Engineers fiddling with the aircraft. After more than an hour their lies were punctured and they asked all the passengers to disembark and go to another Air Peace parked beside the one we were supposed to travel with. After wasting almost an hour there without success they now asked us to go back to the Airport waiting Lounge for further information.
“We all went. Thereafter they asked us to go back to the same Aircraft. We did again. That was the beginning of our second ordeal. 20 minutes after takeoff we suddenly saw the Oxygen Mask dropping. I saw other passengers grabbing the oxygen mask in a terribly panic manner. I managed to put my own as hell was let loose.
“Some passengers fainted, Children crying, mothers weeping and praying and everybody including myself joined in the prayers. After about 20 minutes the normal pressure was restored but no smooth ride anymore. I think the Pilot lost track too that he even flew through Enugu Airport until he found his bearing again. The Aircraft slowed down.
“The loss pressure probably led to the slowdown. The entire Crew panicked I suppose. At a time l nearly gave up but God is on the throne. We landed safely thereafter to the glory of God. It was a nightmare I will not wish my enemies. Air Peace needs total reorganization and comprehensive overhaul to save the company and travelers.
“I suspect that the Aircraft that took us to Enugu was grounded for some technical problems but was deployed to manage to take us to Enugu because of pressure from passengers who were desperate to travel. It was a big disaster averted. I Thank God for the instruments he used to save our lives and managed what would have thrown the nation into deep mourning. One mistake like this will end Air Peace success story but God forbid.
In his parting advice, Igbokwe warned that “Let us try to do the needful always and stop managing something that cannot be managed. Deep maintenance culture is the way to go. You cannot repair a faulty Generator by mere painting it”.
Accordingly NCAA explained that the investigation will be thorough and will include the review of the videos making the rounds in the social media, and will be conducted in line with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations (Nig.CARs) 2015.
A statement signed by the General Manager, Public Relations at NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, warned that passengers should be assured that all aircraft operating in Nigeria were fit to fly, hinting that “At the conclusion of the investigation, the recommendations would be fully implemented”.

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