When it was in the news last Saturday that an Overland Aircraft crash-landed at Illorin Airport, it was as if the newsmen reporting were overly hungry for what to talk about.
So many counter-reports came forward to refute the stories that the Airplane actually crash-landed and that all the passengers were safe and that normal flight schedule were followed etc. That was true, really true because all the passengers were safely evacuated from the plane. But what the owners of the Overland ATR 72-202 5-BMP that skipped off the runway failed to tell us was that the Airplane has been in the service for the past 21years.
The report has it that there were 59 passengers on board the aircraft when the incident happened but none was seriously injured.
The plane, we gathered was first flown on May 18, 1993, originally registered to Air Tahiti with registration number F-OHAT. From there, it became part of the fleet of Air Corsica in France, and subsequently exchanged hands in 1999 and went to a low-budget local airline in Brazil and in 2006, it was again sold to another Brazilian low cost carrier Azul, in Sao Paulo. And as if the turboprop aircraft has not finished its 20-years-services, the plane arrived Nigeria in 2013 and became Overland's.
While in the service, the airplane as we gathered, took off from Abuja and veered off the runway after landing in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, on Saturday. An engineer told one of the newsmen that the plane's nose gear had collapsed upon landing and skipped off the runway.