Saudi cargo plane mishap closes Nigeria airport

The airport in Nigeria's capital Abuja was temporarily closed Thursday, stranding thousands of passengers, after a Saudi cargo plane overshot a runway on landing and blocked part of the tarmac, officials said.

"No casualty was recorded," said aviation ministry spokesman Joe Obi. "Efforts are underway to move the aircraft away."

Flights into and out of Abuja "have been temporarily suspended to facilitate evacuation efforts to clear the runway," he said.

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There was no immediate indication of when the airport would reopen to flights.

The Saudi-operated cargo aircraft had its mishap late Wednesday as it landed on the airport runway, whose operating length has been shortened to 2.5 kilometres (1.6 miles) from the usual 3.6 kilometres (2.2 miles) because of maintenance work.

"The aircraft was unable to successfully taxi on the tarmac after it landed and it veered off," Obi said.

An official for a major local airline confirmed that "not a single flight has been operated in or out of the airport since this morning (Thursday)," leaving thousands of travellers stranded across Nigeria.

Accident Investigation Bureau spokesman Tunji Oketunbi said that the incident was being looked at.

© 2013 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: Dec 5, 2013