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Cablegate: Flight Aborted After Hydraulics Malfunction

VZCZCXRO4403
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHOS #0268 1031520
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 131520Z APR 07
FM AMCONSUL LAGOS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8760
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA PRIORITY 8586
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA PRIORITY 1292
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA PRIORITY 0175
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS PRIORITY 0438
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR PRIORITY 0851
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME PRIORITY 1218
RULSDMK/DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS LAGOS 000268

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE PASS FAA FOR AHARRIS,
TRANSPORTATION FOR FAA; DAKAR PLEASE PASS TO FAA REP MOIRA
KEANE; ROME PLEASE PASS TO TSA REP JOHN HALINSKI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAIR EINV PREL NI
SUBJECT: FLIGHT ABORTED AFTER HYDRAULICS MALFUNCTION

1. On April 11, a Virgin Nigeria flight departing Murtala
Mohammed International Airport in Lagos was aborted shortly
after take-off when the flight captain detected a malfunction
in the hydraulic nose wheel of the aircraft. Although many of
the passengers panicked the aircraft landed safely.

2. Bismarck Rewane, Virgin Nigeria board member, had spoken
with Virgin Nigeria Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Conrad
Clifford about the incident. Clifford described two accounts
of what had transpired. In the first account, some passengers
claimed to have seen fire coming from one of the aircraft's
engines after the aircraft landed. They began shouting, which
provoked a panic. In the second account, some passengers
claimed to have seen an aircraft approaching the Virgin
Nigeria plane on the runway and began shouting. The flight
captain and crew subsequently disembarked the passengers.

3. Rewane confirmed that one passenger suffered minor
bruising as a result of the episode. He said Virgin Nigeria
would distribute a public statement regarding this incident
later today. Aviation contacts affirmed incidents involving
minor hydraulic malfunctions are common and not in themselves
a cause for concern.
BROWNE

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