Lagos — The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) have commissioned an investigation into how a US- bound Delta Airline's aircraft lost one of its engines to fire one hour after take-off for the 13- hour long haul flight.
The flight which departed the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos at around 10:30 p.m Tuesday night had an emergency air return after the left engine was engulfed in fire.
The plane - A330-200 - landed successfully with all the passengers evacuated though five of them were injured.
Director General of NCAA, Captain Mukhtar Usman said investigation is ongoing by the AIB to find out the cause of the engine fire, whether minor or serious.
"Officials of the AIB are there investigating, if it is serious, the AIB will be working with the US National Transportation Safety board, NTSB", he said.
A preliminary report from the NCAA read: "The flight which initially pushed back at 22:40hrs had Air Return /Emergency landing at 23:16hrs, when the pilot in command (PIC) announced the evacuation of all the passengers on board within 90seconds, after contacting the Control Towers because the left Engine of the Aircraft was said to have caught Fire mid air in-flight.
"Passengers were being evacuated via the emergency sliding door within few seconds.
"All Airport agencies Officials on duty were on ground within few minutes that the emergency alarm was announced including AVSEC, NCAA-CPOS, FAAN FIRE SERVICE, PORT HEALTH AND AVIATION CLINIC, QUARANTINE, NDLEA ETC.
"Although there is no death recorded as at the time of filing this report but quite a number of crew and passenger casualties were recorded and have been taken to LASUTH IKEJA, AIR FORCE BASE CLINIC, and FAAN MEDICAL CENTRE for speedy medical attention.
"Meanwhile, the Delta Aircraft was still on the Runway for over 1hr which led to it's closure before KLM, LUFTHANSA and AIR FRANCE depart afterwards.
The aircraft was later towed with a push back truck to the open parking bay close to Boarding gate E63."
Delta Airline in a statement confirmed that five passengers with "non- critical" injuries were hospitalized while the remaining passengers were put in different hotels.
The airline's statement read: "Delta flight 55 from Lagos, Nigeria to Atlanta returned to Lagos International Airport Tuesday after an issue with one of the A330-200's two engines. The flight landed safely and customers exited the aircraft on the runway via emergency slides. Airport fire authorities met the aircraft upon arrival. Delta's customers were bussed back to the terminal.
"Delta is aware of five customers reporting non-critical injuries as a result of the evacuation.
"Delta teams have provided overnight hotel accommodations to customers and will rebook customers on an alternate Delta aircraft Wednesday afternoon. The safety of Delta's customers and crew members is always our top priority."