Ghanaian Military Aircraft Grounded, Liberian Delegates Escaped Death

Moses M. Zangar, Jr.
Accra, Ghana

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

August 24, 2003

A national disaster would have ensued Thursday when 45 Liberian stakeholders returning to Monrovia from Accra on board a Ghanaian military flight, Airforce Fokker 27, reportedly failed to lift up while taking off at the end of the "runway 27" at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra.

It took a band of Angles to save the day when the Captain of the aircraft detected a failure in the system. The unfortunate incident occurred at about 4pM Thursday when the under carriage of the flight reportedly collapsed. Consequently; with God being his helper, the pilot was compelled to demonstrarte his flying techniques to bring the plane to a halt.

However, all 45 delegates on board the military aircraft are said to be safe and sound following their immediate evacuation to the Ghanaian Civil Aviation Authority(GCAA) Clinic were they were treated and subsequently discharged.

But some of those entrapped by the incident who spoke to our reporter are complanning of pains in various parts of their bodies. Former Margibi County Senator Bedell Fahn and one time Planning and Economic Affairs Minister Amelia Ward complained of pains in their bodies as a result of the accident. Also, James T. Decker of the Equal Rights Party of Liberia sprang his wrist in the process.

One of the affected persons told me how most of the minor injuries sustained were due to rushes in a bid to get out the smoke-filled plane. Additionally, some individuals jumped out of the flight long before the stair case could touch the ground, apparently for fear of a possible explosion.

Howbeit, a local daily here has reported how the Director General of the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority(GCAA), Captain Joe Boakye and Air Vice Marshall Eddie Mantey, Airforce Commander, were on the scene to direct the operation in a bid to save lives.

Accordingly, the Ghanaian Civil Aviation authorities have announced an indefinite blocking of the "runway 21" as the Emmergency Response Unit had been working to remove the plane from the spot. During this period, no aircraft will land nor take off on the runway.

The Liberian stakeholders including journalists, representatives of political parties and civil society organizations were in Ghana to attend an ECOWAS brokered peace deal aimed at finding a comprehensive framework to quell decades of tribal feuds and political instability that have ravaged the country.

Distorted information of Thursday's accident sent a shock wave into the spines of many Liberians, especially those whose love ones, relatives and friends had come to attend the peace talks. Initially, rumour had it in Monrovia that the plane conveying the delegates had crashed with all passengers fearing dead. Journalist A. Trokon Tarr who had earlier told his family of his departure from Accra that same day, told me how people had gathered in huge number at his Monrovia residence to console his wife and family.

However, news of "no death" has brought relieve to Liberians eargerly awaiting the delegation back home.