Falcons’ officials recount ordeal inside ‘smoky’ plane
All five officials of the Super Falcons, and four South Africans, who were forced to travel by road from Douala to Yaoundé yesterday when the aircraft in which they were supposed to fly to the Camerounian capital developed electrical fault on Wednesday are yet to overcome the psychological trauma caused by the incident.
The two teams were transported by road from their base in Buea to Douala airport for their journey to Yaoundé on Wednesday after their semifinal clash in Limbe on Tuesday.
The Falcons will face the host nation, Lionesses of Cameroun in the final tomorrow, while the Banyana Banyana of South Africa square up against Ghana Black Queens in the third place match later this afternoon.
While CAF officials were able to secure seats for players of both teams to continue their journey inside one plane, five officials of the Falcons and four from the South African team were taken to another plane.
But what an official of the Super Falcons described as ‘escape from hell’ occurred shortly after at the Douala airport on Wednesday, as the aircraft developed problem just when it was already taxing for take off.
“So many things went wrong with the plane,” the Falcons official told The Guardian yesterday: “It was already taxing for take off, but one of the crew members noticed that one of the propellers was not rolling. We were also told that the fuel was leaking. A few seconds later, we saw smoke coming out. There was panic everywhere inside the aircraft. We were afraid the plane was going to explode. It stopped eventually, but instead of opening the exit doors for all passengers to go down, they told us to wait. We spent close to 15 minutes inside the plane amidst panic. We were sweating. We thank God the crew members were able to discover the fault on time,” the official stated.
Following the electrical problem inside the plane, the five Nigerian officials and the four from South Africans had to embark on their journey by road to Yaoundé on Wednesday. They arrived in the nation’s capital city later in the evening after over four hours on the road.
Among the five Nigerian officials were the assistant coach, Perpetua Nkwocha, Team Coordinator, Mrs. Ejiro Femi Babafemi, the goalkeeper trainer and two others.