My Aero Experience Of The Dana Plane Crash

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I was flying out of Abuja on Aero Flight 126. The initial departure time was pushed back by 2 hours to 3:30 pm. I still got to the airport 3 hours early as I typically like to use airport waiting time to do some blogging. I tweeted about a girl twirling around like a ballerina and then wrote for another 2 hours before my flight was called up. As usual everyone rushed to the gate and in less than 30 seconds 2 lines had formed and had already begun wrapping itself around the terminal walls. I noticed a couple of people from the wedding I attended the Saturday before, but did not really know them so I just stayed in line jamming my Tupac Thug Life Album Jamaroquai. We got onto the tarmac and began walking to our airplanes. AERO had 2 planes on the tarmac that afternoon the delayed flight 126, which I was on and flight 128. I got onto the plane and after scrunching a few bags found some space for my hand luggage luggages. I had been assigned the an exit seat 9A and was ecstatic about the extra legroom…so ecstatic that I took a picture of me stretching my legs on the seat and posted it to my blackberry profile. In the middle of my leg stretching exercise one of the flight attendants began waving at me I thought she was trying to holler so I was fronting to take off my earphones so that I could listen to the exit row instructions. All 6 of us on the exit row had to affirm that we could operate the exit doors and coordinate passengers in a time of an emergency. It was all serious talk, but she ended with a smile saying that not crazy was going to happen. Several seconds later I update my BB status and complain about the long list of exit row instructions I was just given. At that point my blackberry did what it does best…and proceeded to die…I then reclined into my chair and did what I did best and proceeded to sleep…

 

Picture that I posted on my BBM just before my Battery Died

In my dream I heard the seat belt alarm go off and then I woke up. But nobody was disembarking from the plane, instead they sat on their seats as the airplane door was pulled open. I thought this was some kind of weird prank and I was confused, it was not until I looked out the window and saw the Abuja mountains and the other flight 128 aircraft did I realize that we never departed. I asked the gentleman what had happened and all he said was that the Lagos Airport had been shutdown and the pilot was made to turn around. I assumed that it was because of the MAULAG riots that the airport was shut down. But by then mobile phones from all across the plane had started lighting up as people browsed the internet…people were saying something about a plane crash but it was all confusing I heard Dana and then Ghana. After 10 minutes, passengers from flight 128 started getting off the plane. A few seconds later our flight attendants informed us that we also had to get down. All I could think off was where the heck I was going to find another N15,000 to spend on an Abuja hotel room. As I got off the plane I noticed one of the girls from the wedding…I remember her because during the wedding money spraying she was one of the people collecting the money on the ground. I saw a stray dollar bill and informed her about it she said jokingly that as a gentleman I should pick it up and not point! yikes!

 

As I got down I saw a different girl from the wedding crying on the tarmac and an older guy consoling her. That is when I knew something crazy had happened. All I could do was stare…until I was bumped into moving out of the way. I got into the terminal and noticed a guy i saw taking pictures at the wedding…I said “hey were you not at the wedding.” And he barely responded, I thought he was being snubbish, then I asked if he heard about the crash and he said “yeah I was just talking to someone that boarded the flight.” That was when I realized that a plane had not only crashed, but that the passengers had just left Abuja and that the reason why we had to turn back was because of the crash. A few seconds after that a lady pops out her tablet and sees the pictures of the crash and everyone surrounds her. At this point I realize that I need to charge my phone and update my status or else people would be worried since my last update was me flying to Abuja. But before I could get to a socket my co-worker calls me and when I answer she just starts screaming for joy. I immediately call my mum on my non-BB phone to tell her that I am OK, but she barely knows what is going on.

 

I finally manage to charge my phone on and update my status, but by then it is too late…people had already started asking me where I was and what flight I took and all. Some people already I assumed I had died, which was quite scary. After updating my status I just sat down on the airport floor and looked up and the first thing that came to my head was “i could easily have been on that flight.” And that was the first time I teared up. I turned around and saw a bunch of people from the wedding and they were all gathered around and in tears…including the spraying money girl. The flight announcement came up again about 30 minutes later for us to re-board…and this was the first time I saw Nigeria like this, people did not rush to the lines, people were extra cautious to each other, the guys on the tarmac that screen you were wishing people safe flight and trying to cheer everyone up. On the plane people were not fighting to get their bags into the overhead cabins…people were just calm. For a fraction of a few minutes, it was as if I was living in a different Nigeria. The flight attendants did a great job in keeping people calm and upbeat, they acted normal as if nothing had happened.

 

Boarding Aero for the second time on Sunday

We took off several minutes later and this time I was wide awake! The plane flew and into Lagos as planned. The flight was one of the longest I had ever been on…I just kept holding my phone and hoping that we landed. Just as we got to lagos, we could see the crash site of the Dana aircraft from the right side of the plane. We got to Lagos and if Abuja was crazy…Lagos was crazier…families were parked at the garage and people were crying and wailing on the floor. One particular woman kept yelling at her friend “why did you change the flight….I never change the flight!” and police officers just keep screaming “hold her hold her.”

 

In the midst of all the sorrow the one thing that struck me was how respectful everybody was to each other…I guess in a way death brings out the best in many but I just hope we find a way to bring out the best in ourselves and others before death.

 

The scene of crying families at the MM2 domestic airport.

RIP Jennifer Onita I saw you…you looked familiar but I never said a word…life is short…

 

Ofili is an award winning ninja motivational speaker, author, success coach and mind reader entrepreneur who blogs about life, success and entrepreneurial excellence. Follow him on BB pin:3300ED8Ftwitter facebook or subscribe to his blog for more success TIPS!” His latest book is titled HOW LAZINESS SAVED MY LIFE, to find out how it saved his life click amzn.to/getlazy

 

Wishing You Extreme Success,


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Author: Ofili

Words by Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
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38 comments on “My Aero Experience Of The Dana Plane Crash

  1. After updating my status I just sat down on the airport floor and looked up and the first thing that came to my head was “i could easily have been on that flight.” And that was the first time I teared up.

    The sentence above was the highlight for me in this article. Honestly it could have been you; but it wasn’t and I really thank God for your life. In such situations, we flash back and take a look on life and thank God for being so kind and merciful.
    Lynn latest post is IMPRESSIVE! Nigerian Student Receives 7 Awards at his Graduation from City University of New YorkMy Profile

  2. anibaba modupe on said:

    Honestly this is an clear evidence of Gods mercy, really it could have been you but God’s word has remained sure, he said “I’ll have mercy on whom I’ll have mercy” I just thank God for you. Remain blessed

  3. God bless u Ofili. My organisation lost 2 members of her staff to the crash. It’s really a trying period for us as an organisation.
    May the souls of d departed rest in peace.

  4. Adeleke NA on said:

    This is so touching. I thank God for your life and for those that lost there life may God grant them eternal rest and give there families the fortitude to bear the lost, especially my beloved coursemate Cpl Abraham Adijolola the whole NAF99 will miss sleep in the bossom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Till we meet again at His feet. Adieu rest in peace.

  5. I was actually so worried about you. Especially when Chizo Imoka pinged to ask if I saw you in Abuja. Then it struck me that this could be real. I thank God you were not on the flight. May the souls of all the faithful departed rest in perfect peace. I am so worn out from weeping. I lost four colleagues and three pastor friends in one fell swoop.

  6. LaizaK on said:

    Wow! Thank God for your life. It could have been anyone. We all need to make each second count, the next isn’t guaranteed.

  7. Lanre Adeniji-jones on said:

    I tank God for your life and may God continually watch over his children at all time.

  8. Ijeoma M on said:

    Wow, I can’t imagine what I would have done if I were in your shoes. Thank God for your life oh Ofili…it could have been anyone on that flight.My mom left for abuja that day, I was apprehensive cos I was yet to hear from her as her phone was switched off. Once I heard “plane crash” and “Abuja” I immediately thought the worst. Thank God she wasn’t on it. I prayed silently that I wouldn’t know anyone on the flight but alas, my cousin who’s a flight attendant on that flight was killed. Its tragic, and my heart goes out to all the families and loved ones left behind…it’s made me appreciate life more. Now I have to book a flight back to Lagos for my mom and I can’t seem to shake off the fear. God help us in Nigeria.

  9. dianah on said:

    Happy for u that u were not on that flight. I recall sending a bbm to ask if u were ok. As u had tweeted about being lagos bound.

  10. Charlez on said:

    R.I.P to the faithful departed….. Couldn’t eat all day, thou none of my family members was on board d flight but i believe we are 1 in God’s sight. Ofili i thank God for ur life ma bro

  11. linda lucy on said:

    May the souls of those who lost their lives in the dana flight accident rest in perfect peace. Amen

  12. what a life, its unfortunate I pray for the families that lost thier loved ones. Ofili reading your article has ckept me thinking…………… it could be anyone you know.

  13. Eghosarita on said:

    So sad, it could have been just anybody. I just can’t help but think about their most agonising moment when they realised the plane was crashing, if they remembered to call on God for mercy so as not to go into more torment after death, the experience is not different from burying a person alive. 153 people dead all because of one persons selfishness and the workers had to fly a death plane all because they didn’t want to loose their jobs in d process they lost their lives and those who didn’t want to loose their jobs ll still end of loosing it cos that airline’s licence ll definitely b revoked. May God help us to see the truth and choose the truth against materialistic gains in Jesus name, Amen!

  14. Bambo on said:

    My guy, I’m glad that you were not on the flight. I also travelled Abuja to Lagos on Sunday, on Dana in the morning – who knows, it may even have been the same plane that crashed later in the day. I was also coming back from a wedding, not sure if we were at the same one…guess we probably were cos I was introduced to Jennifer and Anita at the wedding….simply can’t believe they are gone now…also lost an old friend on the flight (RIP Dunni Doherty)!

    The most chilling part of your post was “One particular woman kept yelling at her friend “why did you change the flight….I never change the flight!” ” One can only imagine the pain and anguish loaded into that statement…

    We all mourn together on this one…may God give us all the strength to come to terms with this, and pray for a better tomorrow for Naija where these sort of things never happen again…!

  15. jennietobbie on said:

    Wow wow wow. And for the first time in four years, that Sunday, I flew from Owerri to Abj to visit some friends. I haven’t had the audacity to think of Lag which should have been my final destination that Sunday. God……. I can’t believe that I’m still here…alive.

  16. I am so thankful you are still with us, Ofili! God is merciful! My heart goes out to all those on the Dana flight. The most touching part for me was the end “RIP Jennifer Onita I saw you…you looked familiar but I never said a word…life is short…” We all are one in the sight of God…always take time to reach out to people, no matter how small and no matter how brief your impact is on them. People always ask me why is it that you will talk to anybody and if you see their name tag you will call them by name as if you know them? Because like you rightly surmised, life is too short. Take time to always go out of your way to put a smile on someone else’s face. May Jennifer’s soul and the souls of all the faithfully departed rest in God’s love. Amen.

  17. Oh my goodness, I thank God that you are ok and my prayers go to those lost and to those spared!! The name Jennifer Onita sounded familiar….I looked her up and found out she was a classmate!!! RIP Jennifer may your family/friends be surrounded and comforted at this time!!!!

  18. I thank God for you I was actually worried, I even pinged you dat day…. this article was so heart touching ” One particular woman kept yelling at her friend “why did you change the flight….I never change the flight!” and police officers just keep screaming “hold her hold her ” this part brought tears to my eyes…..

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