A Nigerian airlines blamed its passengers for having tampered with the plane's emergency exit door that fell off during landing, reports The Independent.
Dana Air's plane was taxiing on the runway at Abuja airport from Lagos when the incident occurred. The airline stated the door could only have opened and fallen off after a passenger(s) made 'conscious effort' of trying to open the door. All passengers were questioned but they denied any tampering.
Passengers say they heard a “rattling” sound throughout the flight which was probably originating from the shaky door.
“The flight was noisy with vibrations from the floor panel. I noticed the emergency door latch was loose and dangling,’’ Dapo Sanwo, from Lagos, reported,
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“When we landed and the plane was taxiing back to the park point, we heard a poof-like explosion, followed by a surge of breeze and noise. It was terrible.”
“The cabin crew tried to say a passenger pulled the hatch which everyone denied. They also tried to get us to stop taking videos or pictures,” he added.
Remarks made by Dana Air about the incident have further increased it's unpopularity:
The Dana door issue & their press statement states why no one should ever fly that commercial airline again. Rather than apologize and take responsibility for their ineptitude,they chose to blame an imaginary passenger. #dana— Adedunmade (@adedunmade) February 7, 2018
In a statement, Dana Air has defended itself and responded by saying “categorically that this could never have happened without a conscious effort by a passenger" to open the door.
“By design, the emergency exit door of our aircraft are plug-type backed by pressure, which ordinary cannot fall off without tampering or conscious effort to open by a crew member or passenger.''
“When an aircraft is airborne, it is fully pressurised and there was no way the seat or door could have been ‘shaking’ as insinuated.”
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The airline said its engineers and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority inspected the plane upon landing and found there was “no issue” and “no threat to safety at any point”.
Dana Air does not have clean sheet. Its licence was suspended in 2012 and also in 2013 after two deadly crashes. It only resumed flights after January 2014.
After this third incident, it's unpopularity is growing even more.
After losing 3 friends on #Dana Air, I made up my mind never to fly Dana again. I haven't ever since. I wasn't afraid of death, I was afraid of Dana's mediocrity and their avoidable disasters. So I'm not surprised about "the falling door"!— K.O. | 🇳🇬 (@KolaOyeneyin) February 8, 2018
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Emergency opening doors which are not properly shut can be a serious risk. It is not clear in this case how such an accident resulted, however it shows airlines need ensure the emergency doors- which are accessible to passengers for an emergency situation-are not mishandled. Airlines do need to take responsibility to ensure such scenarios are prevented. Ensuring that Emergency doors are intact before and during flight is part of Airline’s responsibility of passenger safety.
A Twitter reaction to this story shows the irony of the situation:
When the emergency exit becomes the emergency— Justin (@_justinmcd) February 9, 2018
This article originally appeared on The Independent.