The pilot explained to passengers that he can’t land the plane due to heavy rainfall in Benin which caused poor visibility as well as a waterlogged and slippery runway.
The scenario caused uneasy calm and panic in the aircraft which hovered in the Benin airspace for about 45 minutes, as people silently and openly prayed to their God and sang spiritual Songs.
The fright that gripped passengers in the plane was not helped by the fact that the Dailies most of them had were awash with reports and pictures of the (ex Governor Olusegun) Agagu funeral party plane crash the previous day.
Even an attempt to land the plane in close-by Esubi Airstrip in Warri proved abortive too, until the pilot eventually informed passengers that he cannot dissipate more aviation fuel trying to land the plane, and that he has opted to fly back to Abuja, a decision passengers generally acknowledged.
Coincidentally, upon return, Abuja had a rainstorm too but with a well-lit runway that is not waterlogged, the plane landed successfully to the relief of passengers.
In all, about 2 hours was spent in the air for local flight of about 30 minutes.
A good number of passengers opted for a refund which Arik obliged, while others resolved to still travel with the flight rescheduled for 9 30am today Saturday.
One of the passengers on the Abuja –Benin Arik flight sent this written account to Newsdiaryonline.com.