Capt. Albert Barney Abuga and his crew are being hailed as heroes after guiding Qatar Airways flight QR240 to a safe emergency landing on Thursday, August 18, at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport.
The aircraft, an Airbus A330, was headed for Doha from Istanbul when it experienced a bird strike. The plane’s left engine burst into flames as a result, putting the lives of the 298 passengers and 14 crew members on board at risk. The Independent quoted eyewitnesses who say they heard a “strange plane engine sound” and looked up to see that “a Qatar plane’s left engine was flaming out.” Video footage showed flames bursting out of the Airbus A330’s left engine as it approached the ground for its landing.
Qatar Airways released a statement on Thursday after the incident, saying “Qatar Airways can confirm that today’s QR240 from Istanbul Atatürk airport to Doha has returned to Istanbul and has landed safely.”
Air traffic control radar showed the aircraft making a U-turn over the Marmara Sea a few minutes after its take-off at 1:20 pm local time on Thursday. Aviation officials said the plane suffered a major “bird strike”, which is an umbrella term for a collision between an airborne animal and an aircraft. Often it results in the death of the birds, and on a few occasions causes aircraft engine failures, which can sometimes have fatal consequences.
Aviation experts have praised the dexterity of the pilots in charge and commended them for following all proper safety procedures, allowing all passengers and crew members to be safely evacuated. Fresh reports by Ahsigbey.com have revealed that Capt. Albert Barney Abuga was the flight captain in charge of the emergency landing.
Capt. Abuga, a Ghanaian, is a trained pilot with over 30 years of flight experience under his belt. After cutting his teeth with Ghana Airways, he left the Ghanaian national carrier to join Singapore Airlines. He subsequently worked as a pilot for a couple of other airlines before offering his services to his current employer, Qatar Airways.
Abuga attended St. Augustine’s College in Cape Coast, Ghana, from 1975 to 1977. He later attended St. John Secondary School where he had his O’ level.