Passengers aboard a British Airways flight were trapped in the aircraft at Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, for over 55 minutes due to heavy downpour on Sunday, September 23.
The plane, which landed at about 6pm, was left unattended to by the airline’s ground staff and the Nigeria Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO). It was eventually towed to the gate at 6:55pm.
While NAHCO was blasted for the “international embarrassment”, its communication manager, Tayo Ajakaiye, explained that the lightning and thunder made it unsafe to move into the rain to commence communication with the pilot. He said a similar incident had happened before.
He said: “Please what happened was not the fault of NAHCO. The rain was heavy so much so that the BA pilot and the BA engineer on ground could not communicate among themselves. They had to allow the rain to subside.
“The last time something similar happened in case of another airline, the engineer who entered the rain with his communication gadget was struck by lightning. He almost died and had to be rushed to NAHCO clinic.
“NAHCO staff were waiting for directives from BA Engineers.”