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Smoke alert: AIB probes Azman’s air return

The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) yesterday said it had commenced investigation into the air return of Azman Air’s Boeing 737-500 aircraft with registration mark 5N-SYS.

The bureau said the fire alert which was said to have triggered the emergency landing was false. The aircraft, which departed Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos at 15:48 local time was en-route Abuja with 90 persons and five crew members.

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Information gathered from ATC indicated that the crew reported fire on board at 15:55 local time and thereafter declared a ‘May Day’.

An attempt by a female passenger to smoke Shisha had triggered the fire alarm which forced the pilot-in-command to return the aircraft to the MMA.

The female passenger who was arrested after the aircraft landed safely with passengers evacuated was still with the police at the time of filing this report yesterday.

Spokesman of the Airport Police Command, DSP Joseph Alabi, said investigation was still going on.

According to the AIB, the crew requested an air return to Lagos for landing and emergency services were on standby. The crew later downgraded the emergency to urgency and the aircraft landed safely at 15: 57 local time, the bureau added.

“All the occupants disembarked normally and safely with no injury,” the AIB said.

The AIB team of safety investigators has been dispatched for assessment /investigation of the incident.

The bureau said it could authoritatively confirm that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) had declared the aircraft air worthy to return to service.  It has therefore been returned to service.

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