A major air accident was averted on Wednesday as a Max Air plane, which landed on the 18 liter runway at Lagos Airport, almost collided with a malfunctioning vehicle that was being tested on the runway.
Aviation sources revealed that a truck belonging to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria Civil Administration had developed a fault, and officials had to call in an auto technician from outside the airport to fix it.
The source further said that FAAN workers have resorted to bringing in a technician from the city because the agency’s management aims to cater to such a situation possibly lacking appropriate personnel.
The results revealed that after the car was fixed, the auto technician decided to take a test drive on the runway.
But FAAN officials who were supposed to stay with him while the car was being repaired were said to be nowhere to be seen.
He learned that the auto technician had contacted FAAN officials who invited him to the airport but there was no response. So he decided to test drive the car and headed straight for the 18 liter runway.
Several airport officials later confirmed that while the auto technician was testing the car on runway 18L, a Max Air plane coming from Abuja with passengers on board suddenly landed and encountered the moving vehicle.
The speeding plane’s pilot had to stop the speeding plane’s overturning, as he struggled to avoid hitting the car.
The pilot immediately made a radio call through the NASA air traffic control officials on duty in the control tower who also alerted aviation security and FAAN airport officials on duty.
Officials immediately rushed to the runway to arrest the auto technician.
A senior FAAN official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as there was no authority to speak on the matter, confirmed the development.
The official identified the auto technician as Obiemi Soyombo but blamed agency officials for the 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.”