Cows at airport: Fayose hails Air Peace pilot for saving passengers’s lives

Several air passengers escaped death in Akure, Ondo State today, as cows took over the runway of the Akure Airport and prevented an Air Peace plane from landing.

It took the combined efforts of the airport security men other aviation staff to clear the runway of the cows before the aircraft registration number 5NBQQ to land more than 20 minutes after.

Meanwhile, the management of Air Peace has confirmed the claims by Governor Fayose.

Confirming the incident, Air Peace corporate communications manager, Mr. Chris Iwarah said: “We confirm that flight P4 7002 from Lagos had to delay landing into Akure Airport today (Saturday) when the pilot-in-command sighted cows on the runway at about 12.15pm.

“On being alerted by control tower, aviation security personnel of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN AVSEC) quickly intervened and cleared the runway.

“The flight was eventually cleared to land after about seven minutes. Our guests on board were all calm while the delay lasted.

“The aircraft departed for Lagos at about 1.06 with full escort from FAAN security personnel.”

Just recently, the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has raised concerns over the obstructions of roads by herdsmen and their cows in some parts of the country.

The assistant corps marshal, of the FRSC, Nwaka Agnes, said there was need to enlighten herders on how their cattle should cross the roads, noting that there was no reason for anybody to endanger the lives of other road users.

“It (obstruction of traffic by herders and their cows) is worrisome alright but then there is always room for dialogue. There should be more dialogue so that people will really understand that we really need to understand one another’s limit,” she said in an interview with journalists.

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The pilot, Captain Williams Inyang was said to have contemplated a return to Lagos when it was taking longer than necessary for the runway to be cleared by the airport security.

Palpable fear had enveloped the passengers, who initially thought the pilot deliberately aborted landing, while the pilot had to hover close to 20 minutes.

Today was not the first time a major airport runway was invaded by cows. The Port Harcourt International Airport runway was sometime ago invaded by cows and an approaching Air France plane collided with some of the cows. The expertise of the pilot saved what would have been a tragic incident as the plane was only slightly damaged with passengers suffering shock.

Also, on November 10, 2016, a fully-loaded plane of Air Peace had to abort landing at Sam Mbakwe Airport, Owerri, when the pilot discovered that the runway had been invaded by cows.

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