A Boeing 747 model Aircraft with the registration number N5-MBB belonging to Max Air conveying 545 Kebbi State pilgrims to Jedda, Saudi Arabia for hajj in the early hours of Wednesday, developed technical problem after three attempts to take off from Sir Ahmadu Bello Sardauna International Airport in Birnin Kebbi.
According to one of the pilgrims, Aliyu Sani Zamfarawa , the incident occured around 1:39am.
“One of the engine of the plane developed fault after three attempt to take off from the airport. All the pilgrims in the airplane were in a state of shock and confusion as we all ran for safety as soon as the emergency exit was opened,” he said.
Chairman Committee on Flight, Kebbi State Hajj Task Force, Sani Dododo said that ,”the pilot explained to us that one out of the three engines developed mechanical problem which they are making consultation to see how the problem will be solved.
“The pilot also advised that another flight be brought to lift the intending pilgrims and the effected flight will be taken to Kano for repair.”
Dododo urged the pilgrims to be clam, assuring that the problem encountered “will be solved within some hours.”
The Chief Press Secretary to Governor Atiku Bagudu,Alh. Abubakar Muazu Dakingar,i while also confirming the incident on phone, said the Governor has ordered for the immediate deployment of another aircraft for the pilgrims in order to ensure that all our pilgrims are airlifted within deadline.
“The Governor has also ordered the immediate arrest of officials who shortchanged or refused to hand Basic Travel Allowance (BTA) to pilgrims,” Dakingari added.
Our correspondent gathered that,the aircraft was conveying seven serving members of Kebbi State House of Assembly members, All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains, some former Local Government Chairmen, Imams and the Governor’s close associates as well as the intending pilgrims from Gwandu,Sakaba,Bunza and some part of Jega LGAs.
It is however not clear the number of pilgrims that have been airlifted from the state so far.