'All of a sudden — poof!': Passenger describes moment emergency door snaps off Nigerian plane
Air travel can be a pain. When the plane lands, you just wanna hop out the emergency exit and breathe some fresh air. What you don't want is for the emergency exit door to pop open on it's own — while the plane is still moving.
But on Wednesday, that's exactly what happened on a Dana Air flight from Lagos, Nigeria to Abuja.
Dapo Sanwo was on that flight. He is back in Lagos now and spoke to As It Happens host Carol Off about his ordeal.
Dapo, when did you first start to notice that something might be wrong with the emergency exit on your plane?
How were people responding when they could see this loose emergency door handle?
And so at what point did things get even more serious? When did the door actually open?
What had happened was we had landed. As we were taxiing, nobody was really paying attention. And then, all of sudden, we heard a poof! You just realize — oh my goodness! Did this door just really bust open right now? It was hysterical. It was scary and it wasn't very pleasant.
Did you think about what might have happened if that door had popped open when you were up in the air?
Man, I don't want to imagine. There are so many scenarios. Of course, a lot of engineers have come to say to us that it was a pressurized cabin. That it's very difficult for it to come open mid flight. But in any case, it would have been disastrous. You would have lost cabin pressure. Oxygen would have gone out because we are at 29,000 feet. Everybody would be breathing through gas masks. I mean, it now comes down to the skill of the pilot to bring down the plane. There's so many challenges. What if the engine starts to feel the pressure of the excess air inside the cabin? What if the plane bursts open or breaks, or worse, even explodes?
That was a very infamous incident. Everyone was killed on the plane, which was about the same sized one that you were on. And once you were on the ground, how did the flight crew respond to this?
They said a passenger must have opened the door. They must have tampered with it. That was the explanation. They wouldn't take responsibility for it.
Yes, that's what they said and that was ridiculous. I know in some other places that would be totally unacceptable but in Nigeria it seems like they are going to get away with it. In any case, it is absolutely disappointing and I'm sure the investigation will show that.
This interview transcript has been edited for length and clarity. For more on this story, listen to our full interview with Dapo Sanwo.