By Momodou Jarju
The Scorpions of The Gambia have finally left Banjul International Airport for Yamoussoukro in Ivory Coast on Thursday afternoon after the Chartered Flight they boarded on Wednesday to the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) returned to Banjul due to technical problems.
According to reports, the flight was nine minutes airborne when the crew realised the problem and immediately requested to return to Banjul for an emergency landing.
“Upon landing, preliminary investigations indicated that there was loss of cabin pressure and oxygen,” Gambia Football Federation (GFF) media team explained on Wednesday.
“However, the technical team of the operating company of the flight, Air Cote d’Ivoire is further assessing the situation to establish what caused the lack of oxygen and cabin pressure.”
GFF media has informed the public Thursday morning that a solution has been devised courtesy of President Adama Barrow’s intervention.
“Because the team wanted to fly directly to Yamoussoukro, which is a smaller airport and for security reasons there is special approval required for bigger flights to land there. Thus, President Barrow was in touch with his Ivorian counterpart Alassane Ouattara on the matter,” GFF media said on Thursday.
“In this regard, Air Côte d’Ivoire has already dispatched an Airbus 319 which will arrive in Banjul at midday to ferry the team. The permits have also been granted for the Airbus to land in Yamoussoukro instead of Abidjan.”
Meanwhile, the Scorpions will play their opener on Monday against neighbouring Senegal, the tournament’s defending champions.