Sixty-eight persons on board a Starbow Airline bound for Kumasi narrowly escaped death when the aircraft skidded off the runway when it was taxiing at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) in Accra.
The aircraft, flight S9 104, was carrying 63 passengers and five crew members.
Five persons, according to the Deputy Minister of Energy, William Owuraku Aidoo, who was also on board, got injured.
The accident occurred at about 12:20 pm on Saturday.
Reports indicate that the aircraft skidded off the runway in the direction of the Air Force Base, after its engines suddenly shut down, running into a fence wall.
The deputy minister accused the pilot of allegedly ignoring the bad weather and the rains and still opted to take off.
Prospective passengers on Friday, November 24, 2017, got stranded at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), after they were unable to embark on the booked flight.
The flight was later cancelled, even though the passengers had been cleared to embark on the journey.
It was later postponed to Saturday, when the incident occurred.
Another eyewitness, New Patriotic Party (NPP) Deputy General Secretary, Nana Obiri Boahen, who was on board the same flight, narrated the harrowing experience to DAILY GUIDE.
He said, “It was raining and passengers on board wondered why the pilot, Captain Minyila, wanted to take off by all means.
“When he did, I heard one of the propellers snap and the noise which followed was as though there was an explosion. The wire mesh and the mud on the side of the runway where the aircraft had veered reduced the speed but for which the story would have been different.
“I had given up hope. I thought it was all over. Passengers asked to be let out. There was a hole created through which rainwater rushed in; a woman nearby was injured. When the door was opened, there was a rush and some persons were injured as they hit their heads against the aircraft.
“On the ground it was rainwater; some of us stood under the wing but smelled something suspicious at which point we were ordered to leave the place for fear of fire. It was a long way from the tarmac.
“In the ensuing heat, an official statement from the Emergency Operations Centre of the Ghana Airports Company and the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority confirmed that only one person got injured in the crash.
“The statement said the victim sustained minor injuries and was currently under observation at the clinic.”
Later, Eric Antwi, Chief Executive Officer of Starbow, in a statement, said the airline had temporary suspended its activities.
He said, “Everyone at Starbow wishes to express their sincere regret for the distress experienced by our guests on Flight S9 104 on 25 November, 2017, at 12:45, local time.”
“The service, operated by ATR72-500 (registration 9G-SBF), was a scheduled flight from Accra to Kumasi.”
Mr Antwi confirmed that five guests who sustained minor injuries had been treated at the Airport Clinic.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) said, “All of us at Starbow at this time remain dedicated to our guests, our crew and their families. Their safety and wellbeing are at the heart of everything we do, and we will cooperate fully with the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, and other agencies, to determine the cause of this incident. ”
By Linda Tenyah-Ayettey