A loose airplane door is the nightmares of most passengers. However, this is exactly what happened on a flight from Lagos to Abuja.
The Dana Air flight had landed in Abuja and was taxiing on the runway when the emergency exit door fell off.
The airline vehemently denies this was caused by a mechanical fault, claiming that it could not have fallen off “without a conscious effort by a passenger to open it”.
Instead, the airline believes a passenger must have pulled the hatch.
Despite this accusation, witnesses have said they saw no one tampering with the door.
One passenger, 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”.
Then, what happened next remains unclear but passengers reported hearing a “poof-like explosion” immediately followed by “a surge of breeze and noise”.
Other passengers onboard the aircraft have taken to Twitter to report their outrage.
Ola Brown tweeted: “Flew Dana. Exit door was unstable throughout flight. As we touched down, it fell off. Scary stuff”.
This incident has led others to share their Dana Air experiences.
Another user posted: “Last time i used dana airline sometime last year…serious water was dripping [from] the [air conditioning holes]… people who sat on [the] window seats including me had splashes of water on our clothes till we landed”. (sic)
After the incident, Dana Air released a full statement. It read: “The emergency exit door of our aircraft are plug-type backed by pressure, which ordinarily cannot fall off without tampering or a 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 was also quick to justify its safety record, reporting that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority had inspected the aircraft and “no issue was reported”.
Those on the return flight did not need to wait long – it was only delayed by eight minutes, just enough time to “demonstrate to the regulators that the safety and comfort of…guests is at the centre of…operations”.
Nigeria is known for its poor air safety record, with 153 being killed onboard a Dana Air flight which crashed in a busy Lagos suburb in 2012.