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Passengers surprised when plane lands 200 miles from destination

The plane ws Abuja-bound but ended up hundreds of miles away  (Getty Images)
The plane ws Abuja-bound but ended up hundreds of miles away (Getty Images)

An airline is under investigation after a plane landed almost 200 miles away from its intended destination, disrupting flights and leaving passengers stranded.

On Sunday, a United Nigeria Airlines flight took off from Lagos heading to the Nigerian capital, Abuja. The domestic route covers around 320 miles.

But the aircraft touched down at Asaba International Airport. A similar comparison would be landing in Tenby, Wales, when you wanted to arrive in London.

In a strange twist, passengers on board were told they had landed in Abuja, their intended city.

Initially the airline apologised, stating that the plane was diverted “due to poor destination weather” and that “at all material time, the pilot of the aircraft was aware of the temporary diversion and was properly briefed”, reports Simple Flying.

“However, a wrong announcement was made by the cabin crew upon landing safely in Asaba, creating confusion among passengers.”

Since then, doubt has been cast on this explanation, with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) looking into the incident.

Festus Keyamo, Nigeria’s minister of aviation, said that “it was clear that when the pilot was taking off from Lagos, he was headed to Asaba, not Abuja,” reports One Mile at a Time.

Authorities have since revealed that they’ve listened to the communication between the pilots and air traffic controllers. The cockpit is repeatedly asked to confirm that they are flying to Abuja and not Asaba – but the pilots insisted that the flight was headed to Asaba.

Salihu Tanko Yakasai, who was on the plane and ran for the governorship of Nigeria’s Kano state in elections earlier this year, told BBC Igbo that the “sky was clear”, and the pilot announced that he had received the “wrong flight plan” from Lagos.

Some passengers were “agitated” as they could see they were not in Abuja, he added.

The Independent has contacted the NCAA and United Nigeria Airlines for more information.