A Cessna Aircraft C172 belonging to United States-based Global Aviation, which took off from the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, at 6p.m. local time on Monday en route to Libreville, the capital of Gabon, has been declared missing.
The aircraft, with registration number N9748L, was said to have departed Kano airport without any incident and was handed over to Doula air traffic control (ATC) at 10.16p.m., but the Camerounian authorities issued a statement yesterday declaring the aircraft missing.
THISDAY learnt that the handover of the aircraft to Doula was complete and Camerounian ATC acknowledged the aircraft was in its airspace and on its radio frequency, 65 nautical miles south of Obudu.
The statement from Cameroun aviation authorities said the aircraft disappeared off the Chad-Camerounian airspace on its way to Libreville, Gabon, en route to Doula, the commercial capital of Cameroun.
The four passenger-seater aircraft with only the American pilot on board was said to be flying at a low altitude of 3,000 metres in the mountainous terrain and, according to the statement from the Camerounian authorities, its last contact with air traffic control was at the Mongo Airport.
Mongo is in a city in Chad, the capital of Guerra region, about 406 kilometers to the Chadian capital N’Djamena.
The Cameroun aviation authorities further confirmed that the aircraft did not make it to Doula and its last contact with the control tower took place in Mongo, which is a two-hour flight from the Camerounian commecial capital, adding that the search and rescue operations led by its civil aviation authorities have yielded no result.
A source from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said it would be wrong to describe the aircraft as Nigerian because it was not registered in the country, explaining that it had been carrying out ad hoc services in Nigeria.
Also, in a statement issued yesterday by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), the agency clarified that the aircraft did not disappear in Nigeria’s airspace.
The Managing Director of NAMA, Ibrahim Abdulsalam, told journalists in Lagos that the incident was not within the jurisdiction of the agency.
He noted that the aircraft had been handed over to the Cameroun airspace authority before it disappeared from the radar within their airspace.
“It did not occur within the Nigerian airspace, so there is nothing we can do about it.
“We have handed over the aircraft to the Camerounian airspace,” he explained.
The aircraft took off from Kano airport at about 6 pm en route to Libreville in Gabon. It was scheduled to arrive at 11p.m. the same day, after a stop-over in Douala, Cameroun.