Still on flying and crashing (yah am still stupefied), someone sent this to me and I thot to share with y'all. Men, I don't blame this girl- prolly would have done worse:)) May God continue to protect us.
I had cause to travel to Abuja a few days ago. I was accosted at the airport by a television crew who wanted to know how I felt traveling by air so soon after the ADC plane crash of October 29. "What can we do? Life must continue", I declared, matter of factly. And indeed life must go on, although I noticed that there were not too many passengers at the usually busy local wing of the Murtala Muhammad airport in Lagos.
But the drama that I experienced on the return leg of my trip was so memorable I cannot the resist the temptation to report it. I arrived at the Abuja airport very early on Friday morning, to beat the rush and see if I could get a seat on either an Aero Contractors flight or Virgin Nigeria. For now, these are the only two airlines which Nigerians prefer to patronise. But at the Aero contractor ticket counter, I was told that all the airline's early morning flights to Lagos had been fully booked. I ended up buying a Chachangi ticket. The plane was already boarding so I rushed off to the tarmac. Sitting next to me in the aircraft was a young lady who pestered me endlessly with her anxiety. First, she lamented not being able to get an Aero ticket. Then, she declared that her mother would nearly faint were she to be told that she travelled with another airline.
"Do you think this plane will get to Lagos safely?", she asked me.
"I don't see any reason why it shouldn't", I tried to reassure her.
"Ah", she sighed. "And I didn't tell anybody I was travelling o. I want my mum to see me in Lagos and be surprised."
I kept mute. I had nothing to say to this. Meanwhile, the door of the aircraft was being shut, preparatory to departure.
"They are locking the door", she told me. "Someone cannot go down again. Ah, what have I done to myself? I think I should have gone back home and travel later."
"Don't worry. We are in it already. Everything will be fine"
"But see" she said, sweeping the aircraft with her left hand. "There are not too many people on this flight. It's like other people are afraid too. This is an early morning flight on Friday, ordinarily it should be full of passengers. I just hope I have not made a mistake."
"Don't worry, take it easy. Everything will be fine."
"Anytime I can't get either Aero or Virgin, I will just go back home."
The plane was now moving onto the runway, and just as it lifted itself off the ground, it shook at the wings a bit.
"The plane is shaking. It is shaking", the lady said, her voice quivering.
"That is normal when an aircraft is taking off, It will soon stabilise once it gains altitude," I told her.
"See, other people are praying."
She placed her head on the seat in front of her and mumbled some words to the Almighty. I looked out of the window, and behold, just below us, on a burnt out patch of ground, almost at the end of the runway field, to the right of the aircraft was the tail of the ADC plane that crashed on October 29. I could see it very clearly. I drew the young lady's attention to it. She looked out too noting that the crash was really close to the airport, and judging from the position of the aircraft in which we were traveling, we were able to confirm that in fact the crashed ADC plane had not even gained altitude before it plunged into the earth below and exploded. If such an accident had occurred in a city like Lagos where houses surround the perimeter fence of the airport, the tragedy would have been worse. More people would have died. The plane was now airborne. The young lady was still fretting.
"Don't give yourself hypertension", I advised her.
"At least we have survived the take-off, it remains landing. I understand that these planes only crash when they are taking off or when they are landing," she observed.
"Well, well". I restrained myself from giving her examples of air crashes in which the aircraft developed a fault while airborne. She kept talking.
"And the planes tend to crash either on Saturdays or Sundays. Thank God today is Friday," she noted. I could see that the lady was trying so hard to reassure herself that she was safe. Just then, the cabin attendant said certain things and mentioned the name of the pilot. This proved to be a useful piece of information for her.
"The pilot is a white man", she said, sounding as if she had just resolved a puzzle. I couldn't immediately figure out what she was driving at.
"That is a white man's name" she added.
I had wanted to tell her that the pilot could well be a Nigerian bearing one of those foreign sounding names, and that she should not judge a man's colour by the sound of his name alone. But I left her alone with her illusions. She won't give up.
"At least a white pilot will be reasonable," she told me.
"How?", I asked
"He will not take the kind of risk that our people will take."
"May be." By now, this lady was beginning to get on my nerves with her panic. So, I pretended as if I was feeling sleepy. I actually rested my head on the seat in front of me. But she would not leave me alone.
"You want to sleep?"
"How can you sleep in this kind of situation? Me, I can't sleep o. I am going to stay awake and monitor everything that this plane does till we get down safely in Lagos."
I mumbled something about not getting enough sleep the previous day, because I don't always feel comfortable sleeping in a strange bed in a hotel. She was not interested in my sleeping habits.
"Do you think the weather is good today?", she inquired. Not being a meteorologist, I was not in a position to offer her an expert opinion on the weather, other than to describe what she herself could see. It was bright outside, and the sun was already out.
"I think the weather is good today, the pilot shouldn't have any problems", she answered her question herself. I nodded. And if it would be of any comfort to her, I drew her attention to the news that the President had redeployed Professor Babalola Borishade from the Aviation Ministry to Culture and Tourism, a sign at least that the Federal Government is just as concerned about the state of the aviation industry as the rest of us.
"Who is now the new Minister of Aviation?", she asked. I told her. She shook her head.
"But that Professor Borishade, does he have any shame at all?," she inquired. How on earth she expected me to offer a definite opinion on this, I didn't know.
"The man should know that by redeploying him, the President is making a statement of disapproval about his headship of the Aviation Ministry and particularly his management of the ADC crash. What is he going to do at the Culture Ministry? He should have resigned; in fact the President should have sacked him."
"The man says he likes his redeployment. He is not thinking of resignation. He is happy"
"Why won't he be happy? If the President had redeployed him as a Personal Assistant in the Presidency, he would also have taken it. People like him have an explanation for everything. No shame at all."
Finally, the lady kept quiet. But as soon as the cabin hostess announced that the aircraft would commence its descent into the Lagos airport, my tormentor started fretting again. But we made it. The landing was smooth, and I saw her praying again, and singing. I took a close look at her for the first time. A pretty girl. Used to being pampered, obviously. Nice physical assets; delicate and tempting features. We disembarked. It took some time before we could collect our luggage, and now it was my turn to fret. "I don't like being kept waiting", I said. "Why is it taking these people so long to bring our luggage?" Someone spoke beside me. It wasn't the lady now, but a man who had been with us on the same flight.
"Any time they like, they can bring the luggage. You should be thanking God that we had a smooth flight and arrived safely", the fellow said.
I had nothing to say to him. I didn't want another cry baby on my hands, lamenting about the woes of Nigeria's aviation industry and how it has turned air travellers into victims of paranoia.