Dana Air Blames Pax After Exit Door Falls Off On Landing

Bruce Parkinson, Open Jaw

A Nigerian airline with the marketing tagline 'The Smartest Way To Fly,' has blamed passengers after an emergency exit door of one of its planes fell off shortly after landing. 

The Dana Air MD-83 from Lagos was taxiing on the runway at Abuja airport when the emergency exit door came away. 

Pax told of hearing a "rattling" throughout the flight and described what happened as "scary."

But the airline, in a customer service masterstroke, insisted there was "no way" the door could have fallen off without a pax making "a conscious effort" to open it. Passengers denied the accusation, and gave a very different story.

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. When we landed and the plane was taxiing back to the park point, we heard a poof-like explosion, followed by a surge of breeze and noise. It was terrible."

He added: "The cabin crew tried to say a passenger pulled the hatch which everyone denied. They also tried to get us to stop taking videos or pictures."

Another passenger, Ola Brown, a doctor from Lagos, said the door was "was unstable throughout the flight."

"As we touched down it fell off," she added. "Scary stuff."

In a statement, Dana Air said "categorically that this could never have happened without a conscious effort by a passenger" to open the door.

It added: "By design, the emergency exit door of our aircraft are plug-type backed by pressure, which ordinarily cannot fall off without tampering or conscious effort to open by a crew member or passenger."

"When an aircraft is airborne, it is fully pressurized and there was no way the seat or door could have been 'shaking' as insinuated."

The airline said its engineers and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority inspected the plane upon landing and found there was "no issue" and "no threat to safety at any point."

It added the aircraft later made the return flight to Lagos, presumably with the door reattached.

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