No fewer than sixty-six passengers escaped death on Friday as an aircraft in the fleet of Air Peace got its tyre burst shortly after landing at the Ilorin International Airport.
The development forced airline operators to cancel their operations on Friday and Saturday because no plane could land or take-off from the runway of the airport until the burst tyre was replaced.
The incident also left so many passengers who were waiting to board the Air Peace flight to Lagos at 11am on Friday stranded.
Most passengers, it was gathered resolved to travel by road while others returned home for fear of bad road network and insecurity.
Reprieve, however, came the way of airline operators and passengers on Saturday as the Air Peace plane was evacuated from the runway of the airport.
The aircraft was moved to the hanger of the Nigerian Airforce in the airport for further maintenance services.
An official of the Airport who craved anonymity told journalists that ”with this development, flight operations in and out of Ilorin can now commence in earnest”.
He also denied rumour about plane crash in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
“No, there was no plane crash at Ilorin International Airport,” he said in a reply to our reporter’s inquiry.
Meantime, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has denied that there was a plane crash at the Ilorin International Airport on Friday.
General Manager Public Relations of NCAA, Sam Adurogboye, said this in a statement, titled “No Air Peace Aircraft involved in accident” made available to journalists in ilorin Friday evening.
The statement reads, “Attention of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has been drawn to a sensational report making the rounds that an aircraft belonging to Air Peace B737-500 with Registration Mark 5N-BQR was involved in a crash in Ilorin yesterday.
“The Authority wishes to state categorically that there is no air accident in Nigeria involving Air Peace or any airline.
“As a matter of fact, the said aircraft which departed from Abuja successfully landed in Ilorin. It only experienced tyre burst in the course of taxing.
“Meanwhile, all the 66 passengers and 6 crew members onboard were disembarked without any issues whatsoever on the same day being the 23rd of July, 2021.
“The Authority wishes to enjoin the travelling public to disregard such false and reckless presentation.
“We want to urge our media partners to inculcate professionalism and avoid false news which will harm our blossoming reputation.
“NCAA is committed to ensure safe and secure air transport in Nigeria and will stop at nothing towards ensuring our over eight (8) years of zero accident, no fatality in scheduled flight operations continues.”