Although some passengers in the flight tweeted that it was after a passenger with a diplomatic passport attempted to blow up the aircraft with dynamite, the airline’s management said in a statement that the flight was diverted to Dakar for precautionary reasons.
A spokesperson for Delta Airlines, Olivia Cullis, said: “Delta flight DL55 from Lagos to Atlanta diverted to Dakar for precautionary reasons. After a short stop, the flight resumed its journey to the United States. The safety and security of our passengers and crew is our number one priority.”
THISDAY sent a mail to Cullis who re-sent the same statement, although in a personal mail, said: “I have seen some bogus reports about a Delta flight. We do have a statement which is below which I hope will help you.”
Online reports said a passenger who was onboard the aircraft had tweeted about the incident, saying the man who was taken into custody by stern looking security agents in Dakar had boarded the plane reportedly with a diplomatic passport, and had been found with dynamite in his bag.
One of the passengers was said to have tweeted, “Dunno what that guy was trying to do, but the electronic systems on the plane shut down! Lights were flickering everywhere.”
In another tweet, the passenger was reported to have said: “Meanwhile, as we disembarked at Atlanta, US customs and police were waiting with a list (with photos). Incomprehensible crazy stuff.”
While these tweets may not be relied on, there are indications that Delta Airlines management might not have said everything about the diversion of the fight to Dakar.
Delta Airlines had been operating the Lagos destination for over three years and used to stop in Dakar to refuel and pick passengers before its resumed direct flight to Atlanta from Lagos.