Nigerian Plane In Emergency Landing

December 19, 2005

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A Nigerian plane, owned by the same company as an airliner which crashed in October killing all on board, made an emergency landing in Ghana on Monday after a failure in its hydraulic system, officials said.

The Bellview Airlines Boeing 737 sent a distress call while approaching Accra Airport from Lagos and a tire burst as it landed, but none of the 63 passengers and four crew were hurt.

"The pilot had earlier radioed the control tower in Accra, declaring an emergency during descent to land at Accra Airport due to a hydraulic system failure," said Eric Noi, public affairs director for the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority.

"The aircraft landed safely... without any casualties. The aircraft burst a tire upon landing and was disabled for a while on the runway and was subsequently towed to the hangar."

"It may have been a nail or any other sharp object that pierced the tire after the aircraft landed," said Bellview spokesman Habib Mohammed.

Nearly two months ago another Bellview aircraft crashed near Lagos, killing all 117 people on board. A plane operated by Sosoliso Airlines, another Nigerian carrier, crashed during a storm at Port Harcourt Airport last week, killing 106 people.

"Some of the people seem traumatised, this coming so soon after the plane crashes in Nigeria," said George, a local journalist who witnessed the landing.

The flight was on its way to Freetown in Sierra Leone from Lagos with a stopover in Accra.

(Reuters)