There was anxiety at the Manda Airport in Lamu, Coastal Kenya as a Fly540 airplane was forced to abort take-off when one of its tyres got stuck in a pothole on the runway.
The plane which was to take-off at 12:30pm was delayed for about 30 minutes during the Sunday incident. It had 36 passengers on board.
Engineers supervised airport workers who dug out the plane’s left rear tyre out of the pothole.
“The plane was about to take-off but it was a bit difficult. The pilot had to stop after realising that one of the plane’s tyres was stuck in a huge pothole on the runway. Engineers and airport staff had to be called and assisted in pushing the plane out and parked it at a safer location on the runway from where it was finally able to take-off safely,” said a Fly540 official.
Passengers have called on the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) to repair the Manda Airport runway.
This is however not the first time a plane has gotten stuck in a pothole on the runway. In May last year, a video shared by a worker at one of the airlines at Wilson Airport showed staff trying to free the wheel of a plane trapped in a pothole.
“It’s a sad situation. Planes get stuck often, and it is the workers who are usually responsible of pulling them out of the potholes,” said one of the workers.
Tourist stakeholders in Lamu County have numerously called for the rebuilding and expansion of the airport to be able to deal with the high number of tourists and visitors flocking the region.