The National Hajj Commission of Nigeria (NAHCON) says there is no truth in some media reports that a Max Air aircraft carrying about 600 Niger State pilgrims from Saudi Arabia to Nigeria crash-landed at Minna International Airport yesterday.
The Chairman of the commission, Alhaji Abdullahi Muktar made the clarification in a telephone interview in Makkah, Saudi Arabia.
He explained that as soon as the story filtered into the public domain, the commission conducted its findings into the purported development by getting in touch with the management of the airline concerned and interviewed some passengers that boarded the said plane.
Alhaji Abdullahi said the result of the findings showed that there was no such thing as emergency landing or crash landing of any plane in Minna involving pilgrims being transported back to Nigeria by the commission.
He explained that some of the passengers spoken with said they heard the purported news for the first time and that there was no such development as far as they were concerned.
The management of Max Air, which also denied the report, however, said in a statement that there was torrential rain with the unstable wind when the plane was landing at the airport with the instrument landing system at the airport epileptic with unreliable signals.
The statement adds that there was a slight brush of the engine due to the complex landing manoeuvres, occasioned by the strong downdraft, stressing that the aircraft did not crash or skid off.
Some dailies had earlier reported that the plane conveying about 600 pilgrim’s crash-landed at the Minna International Airport.
Meanwhile, the command and control centre of NAHCON says that the commission had so far airlifted about forty thousand pilgrims back home in 81 flights and the airlift operation is expected to be completed in the next few days.