Tension and panic engulfed Air Malawi passengers Wednesday when the newly leased plane developed a technical hitch while flying to Johannesburg, South Africa.
An eye witness who was part of the passengers to Johannesburg on business errands told Nyasa Times, the airborne drama started some 20minutes after departing Chileka International Airport in Blantyre.
“We left around 11:15am and when we thought all was well the pilot announced that he was flying back because the plane had developed a technical fault,” said the lady passenger who refused to be named.
“After the announcement, tension grasped the passengers as everyone stopped doing anything including talking to each, everyone was quiet as fear swallowed us up, others could be seen and heard murmuring prayers,” she added.
She said the planned touched down at Chileka Airport at around12:40pm amid relief from the frightened travellers.
“We could at least afford a smile, people talked to each and glorified the Lord after the plane finally came a complete halt,” said the lady.
According to the eye witness, the captain had seen some strange smoke coming out from one engine.
There was no immediate comment from Air Malawi officials as their phones could not be picked Wednesday evening.
It was also not immediately known how many passengers and crew members were aboard the flight and what happened to the passengers after the incident.
Air Malawi, which has been undergoing huge financial losses over the years and is in deep economic misfortune, only resumed the Johannesburg route some three weeks ago after a four-month suspension as its Boeing aircraft was undergoing major maintenance work.
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