Recent news items on CBS affiliate, KHOU-TV in Houston, Texas about a plane traveling from Panama to George Bush International Airport which experienced weather-related turbulence, brought home a familiar incident involving a local airline brand in Ghana.

On Tuesday, June 20, 2017, the United Flight 1031, a Boeing 737, is reported to have encountered severe turbulence in the Mexican airspace, about 80 miles east of Cancun, however, the airline landed safely with minor injuries to passengers and the crew.

That, weather related-turbulence is a normal air travel experience is no news in the air travel industry across the world. What is news in Ghana is that it took some supposed Prophet or Pastor to save the plane from crush landing. How low can we go?

Now if you have ever traveled on a long distance flight, one will notice that at several stages during the flight, the pilot will announce the need for passengers to be seated because of some turbulence ahead.

Sometimes, the turbulence is so severe and can lasts for as long as 30 minutes or even more.

In the case of the local airline, Starbow, however, the weather-turbulence had to do with a wet run-way after a heavy down pour at the Kotoka International Airport. The pilot had to make a decision to either risk landing on the slippery run-way or return to Kumasi where it was safer to land.

However, in doing so, the Pilot had to be sure. So he did a bit of circling around to enable him assess the ground (as per their training) whiles communicating with the civil aviation officials in the tower who knew where the aircraft was.

This however, was misconstrued by some passengers to mean the plane was about to crush, hence a viral video of a supposed “Prophet” praying fervently and indeed claiming to have prayed to God to avert a disaster where there was none, absolutely none.

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Whiles some of us believe in prayers and that miracles do indeed happen this is certainly not one of a miracle.

Think about this. The plane could not land at Kotoka from the Kumasi. However, the same airline allegedly about to “crush”, flew another 30 minutes back to Kumasi and was able to land safely. How bizarre???

Air travel is about the safest means of travel world-wide. The Ghana Civil Aviation is one of the best in Africa and counted among the best in the world in terms air traffic management, hence local airlines go through rigorous routine safety checks as pertain in all major international airports. We hear the currently Starbow is the only Ghanaian airline with IOSA certification which has international safety standards.

It is ridiculous therefore, for a normal weather related turbulence that a pilot had to take “on-the-feet” decision to safeguard the lives of passengers be falsely propagated as an alleged plane crush by the very passengers the pilot sought to protect from possible harm and danger.

Interestingly, some passengers on board the flight had the presence of mind to make over a minute-long video of prayers whiles standing in the cabin and not seated as per airline safety measures for all airlines in emergency situation. Is this not curious?

While social media has become very vibrant in Ghana and the world in general, we must desist from such acts that only goes to aggravate an otherwise normal flight technical issues such as weather related turbulence and blowing such stories out of proportion.

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In so doing, not only are we creating unnecessary fear and panic among the travelling public, we end up also killing Ghanaian brands such as Starbow.

The media must also abide by its professional ethics to crosscheck such sensitive matters before going to the public to re-broadcast such stories as such publications have wider impact not just on the airline but Ghana as a whole in the eyes of the international community.

Let’s think Ghana.

 

Source: Kwame Agyeman Yeboah