Major air mishap averted as a Max Air jet almost rammed into a car that was being tested by mechanic on the runway.
The incident happened after an auto technician hired by FAAN from outside decided to test drive a van he fixed on the runway.
After the incident, the auto technician was arrested by Aviation Security and airfield officials of FAAN on duty.
The FAAN officials, who were meant to stay with the auto technician while fixing the car were also suspended.
A major air mishap was averted on Wednesday after a taxiing Max Air Jet almost rammed into a van that was being tested by an auto technician on the runway 18L of the Lagos airport.
The incident reportedly happened after an auto technician hired by FAAN workers from outside to fix one of its vans decided to carry out a test drive on the runway 18L.
While test-driving the car on runway, a Max Air plane arriving from Abuja with passengers on board suddenly landed on the path of the moving car, forcing the pilot to rapidly halt the speeding aircraft to avoid colliding with the car.
After the incident, the Max Air pilot reportedly put a radio call through to the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency’s air traffic control officials on duty, who also alerted Aviation Security and airfield officials of FAAN on duty.
The Aviation Security and airfield officials of FAAN subsequently rushed to the runway to arrest the auto technician, who was identified as Opeyemi Soyombo.
Following the incident, the FAAN officials who had hired the auto technician and were supposed to stay with him while fixing the car, were suspended. The auto technician had reportedly called the FAAN officials, but got no response, before he decided to test-drive on runway 18L.
A top official of FAAN, who spoke on condition of anonymity blamed the agency officials for negligence.
The official said :
“Mr Opeyemi Soyombo was apprehended on our airside because of an incursion into the runway. Unfortunately, he shouldn’t have, because all our drivers receive training in airside driving. So, it was negligence on the part of our colleagues to have left someone that has no business on the airside at all.
“The mechanic is not to blame. He doesn’t know the rules. He was just hired to go and repair a vehicle. As far as I’m concerned, the mechanic is not to blame. It is my colleagues that are to blame for leaving someone that has no business being on the airside on the airside. The MD has said they should all be given query for doing that. We are very grateful that we were able to avert what could have been an incident.”
The General Manager, Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, also confirmed the incident.
In a statement, titled ‘Runway incident: FAAN suspends airfield staff, commence investigation,’ the agency said the affected staff members had been suspended.
The statement reads in part :
“Following an averted near-incident involving a Max Air aircraft from Abuja, which landed on Runway 18L, and a maintenance vehicle belonging to the Civil Department of the authority, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria has suspended the airfield officer on duty at the time of the incident.
“The authority has also commenced full-scale investigation into the incident, with a view to preventing future re-occurrence of such incident.”