- Jo-burg bound flight blows engine, returns to land at SSKI
- Its third incident within six months
About 50 shocked Air Botswana passengers escaped unhurt when the engine of a Johannesburg bound aircraft they were travelling in blew apart soon after take off.
The flight which was destined for O.R. Tambo was forced to return to Sir Seretse Khama International Airport 30 minutes after take off for emergency landing.
A rattled passenger who asked not to be named said:”We left SSKI at about 9am and 30 minutes after take off we heard a huge booming sound. It sounded like something had blasted and that was when flight attendants informed us that the engine had blown apart and we had to return to Gaborone to land and board a different aircraft. I was destined for Asia and I nearly missed my connecting flight but I thank God I am alive. ”
The disturbing incident was the third in a period of six months. Last year another Air Botswana aircraft had to make an emergency landing after its engine exploded.
That incident occurred a week after another one had experienced a similar problem.
“This is not the first time that I have experienced problems with Air Botswana flights. For me its second time lucky. Air Botswana is very frustrating,It’s either their aircrafts have engines problems or they are very late,” said another worried frequent flier.
Contacted for a comment, Air Botswana outgoing CEO, Sakhile Reilling confirmed the matter. “It’s true. There was a slightly higher than normal power surge, so the flight had to turn back as a safety precaution. This is excellent as it is exactly what we have trained our pilots to do.” She said.
In 2008, Air Botswana was forced to de-register by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) after failing critical safety standards. The decision followed an IATA Operational Safety Audit. The national airliner was re-licensed again last year.