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Ghana Civil Aviation Authority to investigate Starbow plane accident

StarbowThe Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has set in motion a process to investigate an incident in which a Starbow airplane from Accra skidded off the runway at the Tamale Airport yesterday.

According to the Deputy Director-General of GCAA in charge of Technical, Mr Martei Boi Atoklo, a team of civil aviation experts had gone to Tamale to initiate investigations into the incident.

He said the aircraft was taken through routine examination before the flight and that the incident was an unfortunate situation.

Yesterday, passengers on board a Starbow flight from Accra to Tamale had a horrifying experience when the aircraft overshot the runway as it was taxying down the runway at the Tamale Airport.

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The airline’s BAe aircraft, with registration number 9GSBB, was said to be carrying 76 passengers when the incident occurred.

Although the passengers were evacuated unhurt, some of them were visibly fear-stricken by the experience.

Aviation officials at the Tamale Airport described the accident as a minor one, but some of the passengers described it as an unforgettable experience.

A passenger’s account
A passenger who refused to disclose his identity described the incident as a crash, which must be investigated to avoid future occurrence.

Some of the passengers that this reporter approached declined to speak as they were gripped by fear.

Similar incidents
This is not the first time that a Starbow aircraft has caused fear and panic among its passengers.

A journalist in Tamale told the Daily Graphic that in 2012, he had a terrible experience on board a Starbow flight, which had difficulty in landing at the Tamale Airport and had to return to the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) in Accra.

In October 2014, two people were injured when another Starbow flight en route to Takoradi crash-landed.

This led to the suspension of Starbow’s operating licence but the ban was lifted after it met the safety requirements and began operations about three months ago after it had acquired a new aircraft for the Tamale route.

Ghana Airport Company
A statement issued by the Ghana Airport Company in Tamale and signed by the Northern Regional Airport Manager, Mr Michael Omane Mensah, said the aircraft with 76 people on board from Accra to Tamale had a problem on the runway.

“It landed alright but the pilot applied a brake but it could not stop but run into a barricade at the end of Tamale runway and stopped.

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Starbow’s statement
A statement issued later in the day by the Starbow Company Limited, however, described the incident as “minor”.

According to the statement, the company had been notified that its flight from Accra to Tamale had been involved in a minor accident.

“As a result, Starbow’s BAe aircraft with registration 9GSBB went through the barricade at the end of the Tamale runway and stopped. It is noteworthy that both the crew and the passengers were disembarked safely via the stairs.

“Our sincere concern goes out to all of the passengers, friends and families involved. We are still gathering the facts concerning the event. Starbow is co-operating fully with the authorities in charge,” it added.

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Vice – President
The Vice-President, Mr Kwesi Amissah Arthur, who was in Tamale to inaugurate the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly, visited the airport to assess the situation.

He was accompanied by some officials of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO).

Awards
Starbow Airlines, which prides itself as the largest Ghanaian airline, measured by the number of passengers it carries, was recently named the 2015 Domestic Airline of the Year by the Chartered Institute of Marketing Ghana (CIMG) after picking the same award in 2014.
Story: Samuel Doudu

Follow @samcillabaakojr

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