THE INC. LIFE

Passengers Say an Exit Door Just Flew Off a Plane During Landing (The Airline Says it Didn’t)

The pictures are quite frightening. But what really happened?

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BY Chris Matyszczyk - 11 Feb 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

 

No two flights are alike.

Something will always happen that makes each flight a touch special.

It could be an unpleasantly wide-elbowed person sitting next to you. It could be a Flight Attendant who's having a very bad day.

Sometimes, flights have to turn back because of a troublesome engine or, sadly, a troublesome passenger.

And then there's the airline that bills itself as "The Smartest Way To Fly."

You might want to redefine your concept of smart when I describe what happened on a Dana Air flight between Lagos and Abuja in Nigeria last Wednesday.

No, allow me to let one of the passengers on the plane describe the action as they saw it.

The exit door fell off?

I should add that this wasn't some puddle-jumping machine. This was an MD-83, a plane that I personally dislike with a certain passion, but one whose doors I've never seen coming off.

In this case, more than one of the 120 passengers made use of their cellphones to record the action for posterity.

You might imagine that Dana Air reacted with concern.

You'd be almost correct, save for the fact that the airline seems concerned that a passenger must have pulled the door off.

In a statement, Dana Air insisted: "We wish to state categorically that this could never have happened without a conscious effort by a passenger to open it."

Some might think it odd that a mischievous passenger would endanger their own life and that of others without, say, the other passengers pouncing on this nefarious person and reporting them to the authorities.

The airline seems angry that "online publications" began to post reports about the allegedly flying door.

To be entirely picky, it seems that it was passengers themselves who began posting the reports.

Moreover, passenger Igah Dagogo told CNN: "I was one foot away from the emergency exit door, so I could see the handle was popping out."

He said passengers had alerted Flight Attendants, who dismissed their fears.

Dagogo, though, is sure that this was an extremely dangerous situation.

"We were in the process of landing, that was when the door just opened. The white man by the door had to shift because the door would have hit him. When he shifted the door now fell on the floor of the plane," he told CNN.

His version is supported by another passenger, Dapo Sanwo, who told the BBC: "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."

Sanwo added a troubling development: "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."

The cellphone is the enemy of airlines. It provides an easy means by which passengers can record evidence.

Authorities are now investigating what might have happened.

Some, though, may be wary of any airline whose doors might fly off the handle, as it were.

Perhaps the smartest way to fly is far away from a loose emergency exit door.