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ARTS, EDUCATION and ENTERTAINMENTS => EDUCATION => TRAVEL, IMMIGRATION and RECREATION => Topic started by: furtune on April 24, 2008, 07:48:34 PM

Post by: furtune on April 24, 2008, 07:48:34 PM
After a string of air crashes in Nigeria between 2005 and 2006 which claimed at least 250 lives, many people now fly with their hearts literally in their mouths.
The stampede, which reportedly followed last Wednesday?s emergency landing of the Cameroun-bound Virgin Nigeria?s flight VK823 in Port Harcourt, is simply a carry over of those crash experiences. But experts caution air travellers who panic and get disorientated in emergency situations as they turn out to be the worst victims of accidents.

The Director General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Dr. Harold Demuren, said the aircraft had declared emergency landing at Port Harcourt, being the nearest airport, based on International Civil Aviation Organisation rules.

The pilot had to do so because en route, he got a signal from the Co*kpit that there was fire in the cargo section of the aircraft.

A former President, Association of the Nigerian Cabin Crew, Mr. Olumide Ohunayo, said that the passengers aboard the Virgin aircraft must have thought a crash was about to happen, hence the stampede that led to the injury of many.

However, he said, it was very important for passengers to be calm and receive instructions from cabin crew in an emergency.

According to him, when emergency occurs in the air, the first thing to do is for passengers to fasten their seat belts to place their heads between their thighs and wait for the next instructions from the crew.

If no other instruction is coming, then passenger may get up, move towards the next exit, peep through the window if the location is okay before parachuting out of the aircraft.

?The passengers need to remove things like pins, high- heel shoes and other sharp materials that could injure them before parachuting out of the aircraft,? Ohunayo said.

The emergency involves deploying all necessary machineries ensure safety on ground, including the fire fighters.

The Assistant Secretary General, Aviation Round Table, Mrs. Nike Bakrin, a lawyer with over 20 years experience as a cabin crew member, said passengers got injured when they failed to follow safety instructions and procedures.

She said ICAO regulation expected crew to evacuate all passengers on-board regardless of the size of the aircraft within 90 seconds. This, she said, was so because the aircraft could explode anytime beyond this time frame.

According to her, passengers get injured at the Virgin Nigeria?s case in Port Harcourt because the case had some psychological undertone.

She recalled that many got burnt in the recent Sosoliso plane crash also in Port Harcourt.

Passengers are thus urged to listen to crewmembers in an emergency, as there are safety procedures for evacuating passengers within the stipulated ICAO time frame.

Aviation Consultant, Mr. Dennis Ejiogu, said the issue bordered on passengers paying attention to safety procedures, which he said, should start from the time they bought tickets. He said safety instructions had been written at their backs.

Ejiogu said passengers needed to listen to safety instructions as well as take time to read safety cards in front of them while on board instead of reading newspapers or something else, while cabin crewmembers are going through their briefing.

However, aviation being the most regulated industry in the world, has laid down procedures by the world aviation regulatory body, ICAO, on how pilots, crew- members and passengers ought to behave.