Airline blames passengers after door falls off plane during landing

Emergency exit had been 'rattling' during flight but Nigerian airline insists there was no fault in aircraft

Chris Baynes
Saturday 10 February 2018 00:44
Dana Air has had its licence suspended twice in the past few years (file photo)
Dana Air has had its licence suspended twice in the past few years (file photo)

A Nigerian airline has blamed passengers after a plane door fell off shortly after landing.

The Dana Air flight from Lagos was taxiing on the runway at Abuja airport when the emergency exit door came away.

Passengers told of hearing a “rattling” throughout the flight and described what happened as “scary”.

The airline insisted there was “no way” the door could have fallen off without a passenger making “a conscious effort” to open it.

But passengers said everyone on board had denied tampering with the aircraft

Dapo Sanwo, from Lagos, told the BBC: “The flight was noisy with vibrations from the floor panel. I noticed the emergency door latch was loose and dangling.

“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.”

He added: “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.”

Another passenger, Ola Brown, a doctor from Lagos, said the door was “was unstable throughout the flight”.

“As we touched down it fell off,” she added. “Scary stuff.”

In a statement, Dana Air said “categorically that this could never have happened without a conscious effort by a passenger" to open the door.

It added: “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.”

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”.

It added the aircraft later made the return flight to Lagos.

Dana Air’s licence was suspended in 2012 and again in 2013 after two deadly crashes. It resumed flying in January 2014.