If you’ve ever seen a lava flow, you know that once the stuff cools and hardens, it’s hard to move. In the Congo, this has created a big problem at the airport in Goma. Back in 2002, when the Nyiragongo Volcano erupted, lava flowed onto the runway, thus shortening it. A shorter runway does not sound good. It’s not.
Today, this was proved true once more when an airplane flying from Kinshasa to Goma overshot the runway and landed on the lava instead. Ouch! According to the report, 20 people out of the 117 on board were injured.
This is not the first time that lava has created issues at the Goma airport. The last time was in 2007 when a cargo plane caught on fire after it hit the lava. This incidence caused 7 deaths.
As unusual as it is to hit lava on a runway, it’s probably more unusual for a plane to hit a bush pig. The plane hits a bush pig incident happened a week ago on in Zimbabwe. When this pig made it’s last oink, high drama ensued which included a couple of injuries that were caused when passengers fell into a ditch at the side of the runway.
As for the lava on the runway woes, hopefully this latest incident in Goma will help provide incentive to remove the rest of it.
When it comes to bush pigs on runways, pilots in Zimbabwe–and I guess elsewhere where bush pigs roam–are probably keeping their eyes on the lookout.
The photo taken by Julien Harneis from a helicopter shows the lava flow around Goma.
It wasn’t a wolf’s huffing and puffing that led to the demise of a pig on the runway at the Harare International Airport in Zimbabwe last Tuesday. Nope, it was a MA60 60-seater attempting to take off. The wild bush pig may or may not have seen the Air Zimbabwe plane coming. But, come it did.
Poor pig. Poor plane. Poor passengers–and poor flight attendant who had to yell, “‘Evacuate!'” after the damaged plane ended up off the runway with dust and smoke filling the cabin.
That’s not the worst of it.
When the panicked passengers and crew tried to escape using the plane’s emergency exit doors, they couldn’t go out one of them. It was jammed. As if that wasn’t bad enough, once they managed to wrestle the plane’s main door open with a mighty effort, two passengers were hurt when they fell into a ditch as they scrambled away from the plane. Because this mishap happened at night, the ditch wasn’t easily visible in the dark.
There’s more. The emergency rescue team didn’t show up for five minutes after the crash because the secret police beat them to the plane. Instead of offering assistance, the police’s main concern was arresting two passengers who were taking pictures.
That’s not all. It took an hour for the 37 passengers to be given water and five hours for them to be allowed to leave the airport. Friends and relatives, who came to the airport after finding out about the accident via cell phone calls from people on the plane, were not told any details about what had happened or given access to the passengers.
Along with reading like a bizarre slapstick story, this pig-on-the-runway-makes-mayhem tale is a good reminder that no matter how bad a flight might seem, it could be worse. [The Times]