Overland aircraft’s engine catches fire midair, pilot declares emergency

A four-member flight crew of Overland Airways made a successful landing of a distressed aircraft on the Runway 18R of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on Wednesday evening, after the plane’s engine caught fire mid-air.

The ATR 42 aircraft, which has 37 passengers on board, was en-route Ilorin-Lagos when the plane suddenly developed a major fault.

The pilots had sent out a Mayday to the Lagos control tower.

Mayday is an emergency procedure word used internationally as a distress signal in voice-procedure radio communications. It is an international radio distress signal used by ships and aircraft.

The Pilot-in-Command of the distressed plane was reportedly on approach to Lagos when the incident happened.

The Lagos airport control tower consequently put the airport emergency response team, including the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria’s fire services department, on notice, following the Mayday.

The pilot finally landed the faulty plane safely on the international airport’s runway amid a fully prepared airport emergency response team. The aircraft’s registration number is 5N-BRQ. Overland later issued a statement confirming the incident.

The statement read in part, “Overland Airways wishes to inform the general public that its flight OF1188 from Ilorin to Lagos experienced an unusual high turbine temperature on one of its engines today, Wednesday, June 15, 2022 around 7:50pm.

“This occurred in the approach phase of flight and the aircraft landed very safely as the crew skillfully implemented their standard procedures for such abnormal situations.

“All 33 passengers remained calm through the process and safely disembarked row by row in accordance with post-COVID-19 procedures after the aircraft came to a halt on the Murtala Mohammed International Airport Lagos runway 18 Right. No passenger was hurt in any way.

“Overland Airways salutes the professional interventions of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and the Accident Investigation Bureau Nigeria (AIB-N) which were very prompt and reassuring.

“Overland Airways regrets any inconvenience to its passengers and assures the travelling public of its full commitment to the safety of its services and passengers.”

Multiple airport officials who spoke on the development on condition of anonymity said it was good the flight was already on approach to Lagos when the aircraft developed the problem.

The spokesperson for Accident Investigation Bureau, Tunji Oketumbi, could not comment on the incident immediately, saying the agency had yet to be briefed.

The spokesperson for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Mr Sam Adurogboye, could not be reached immediately as his telephone line did not connect when our correspondent put a call through.