By Joseph Olaoluwa, TODAY NEWS AFRICA
Sir: Who will take the blame for Pius Adesanmi’s death?
Is Airplane manufacturer Boeing the cause? Or should Ethiopian Airlines take the blame? Permit us, the aggrieved to go a bit emotional and maybe also lay a few curses. In all of these disturbing evidences and unbelievable circumstances, some disturbing statistics have to come to light.
Boeing has had a bad history in plane crashes. In January 1973, 176 people died after a Boeing 707 chartered by Nigeria Airways to fly pilgrims back from Jeddah to Lagos crashed in Kano airport. Ask what the cause of the crash was, it was a case of bad weather conditions. In November 1996, 144 people died after a Boeing 727 operated by ADC airline en route from Port Harcourt to Lagos crashed in Ejirin, near Lagos, killing all its occupants.
In October 2005, 117 people died after a Boeing 737 operated by Bellview Airline crashed near Lagos. The Bellview flight 210 took off from Lagos at 20:35 for a domestic flight to Abuja. Tower lost radio contact with the flight about three minutes after takeoff. The next morning, the wreckage was found about 30 kms north of Lagos. Bad weather was also blamed for the crash. It was the seventh worst accident involving a Boeing 737-200 at the time.
But that’s not all.
In October 2006, 97 people perished after a Boeing 737 operated by ADC Airlines crashed near the Abuja airport shortly after takeoff. The ADC Airlines flight departed Lagos on a scheduled domestic flight to Sokoto with an intermediate stop at Abuja. Immediately after takeoff from the Abuja airport, the Boeing 737 contacted the ground, broke up and caught fire in a corn field. A woman working on the field was reportedly killed after being struck by debris from the crash. The primary cause of the crash was bad weather but the immediate cause was the pilot’s refusal to acknowledge prevailing weather conditions.
It is the 15th worst accident involving a Boeing 737-200.
Quite recent in Boeing’s dismal track record is the Boeing 737-800 Max, Ethiopia Airline ET302 that crashed last Sunday, killing all 157 on board. What is more disturbing is the manner and frequency in which the crash occurred. This is the second time a Boeing series will crash in the space of four months and just like the one before it (Lion Air- an Indonesia airline), Provisional flight data from the tracking website FlightRadar24 suggested flight ET302 climbed erratically in the short time it was in the air. The pilot of the plane, as in the Lion Air case, reported difficulties to air traffic controllers quickly after takeoff and requested permission to turn back, Ethiopian Airlines said. That request took 6 minutes to answer and the resultant effect was a plane crash with no survivors.
For a plane that had a worthy delegation spanning 35 different nationals on board, who will take the blame for the continued crashes that have continued to cause us grave losses? It was quite recently that Emiliano Sala himself was lost to a crash; as all the faces of Dana Airlines and Sosoliso airlines come to mind, this shouldn’t be an issue that should slide by. Because every time we lose someone, the light that brightens the world goes dimmer, moreso for Pius Adesanmi, a crusader of negritude and a better Africa via his works.
Africa’s aviation safety record has never been good, though Ethiopian Airlines has been regarded as an exception. However their failure to grant the trained pilot’s request to turn back will be forever questioned. You don’t allow a poisonous injury to fester- one can only imagine what would have happened if that disaster was avoided. While Cayman Airlines have openly denounced business with the Boeing 737-8 aircraft, maybe, just maybe other airlines should at least consider the antecedents of Airplane manufacturer Boeing and free our airspace from any more heart wrenching casualties. While the MH370 is still by and large, it is high time we revisited all the issues regarding both local and international carriers. Truly Pius Adesanmi will be greatly missed, however you will agree that his legacy lives in each and every one of us and we must carry it on, even now that he is gone.