Hajj: 540 Taraba Pilgrims Escape Death

The ill fated Max AirBy Ibrahim Abdul’Aziz /Yola

No fewer than 540 intending pilgrims from Taraba state escaped death on Friday evening . The disaster was averted following the discovery of an engine problem by officials of Max Air which was loaded with 540 pilgrims few minutes before the aircraft took off.

An official of the Company who preferred anonymity confirmed that contrary to reports making the rounds that the airplane was air borne when the problem was detected, and had to make an emergency detour back to Yola airport, the engine fault was actually detected by the engineers of the airline before take off .This engine problem discovered at the nick of time necessitated cancelation of the flight.

The source added that in order to make up for the cancelled flight, the company quickly asked Kano Operational officer to deploy rescue airplane Boeing 646 No 5N- HMB from Kano which later conveyed the pilgrim to Saudi Arabia at 11:20 local time on Friday night.

The Max Air official said the technical problem occurred following the incursion of a bird into the engine propeller of the aircraft which necessitated a check up on the engine before the airplane commences operations.

The source added that the pilgrims have landed in Madina,Saudi Arabia and have already started performing the Hajj rites.

Checks conducted by our reporter revealed that the faulty aircraft, a Boeing 646 No 5N- DBM was billed to depart for Saudi Arabia by 7:00PM on Friday night but it was barred from taking off following the discovery of the engine problem.

The Executive Secretary of Taraba State Pilgrims Welfare Board Alhaji Habibu Almaki said the first batch of the State’s pilgrims have landed safely in Saudi Arabia despite the initial hitches, a veiled reference to the engine problem developed by the Max Air airplane.

A supervising officer of the National Hajj Commission (NAHCON) Dr. Adamu Aliyu has also confirmed the problem encountered by the airplane, saying that although it led to a little delay in the take off of the pilgrims ,it is delay was welcome as souls have been saved.

He enjoined Adamawa and Taraba State pilgrim welfare boards to harmonize their operations as he said lack of synergy between the two boards is causing unnecessary mix ups, delays and altercations.

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