Mid-air scare on Air Zimbabwe flight: ‘People were crying and praying,’ Passenger Narrates

Harare – An Air Zimbabwe flight from Harare to Dar-es-Salaam was rocked by severe turbulence, creating scenes of panic among passengers who thought the plane was about to break up mid-air, a newspaper said Thursday.

Flight UM438 flew into turbulence around an hour after take-off on Tuesday, said the private NewsDay.

‘It could have been the end’

“The plane shook like it was about to break up into two. People were crying and praying everywhere in the plane, it was a frightening moment that I will never forget,” an unnamed passenger told the paper.

The passenger paid tribute to the plane’s captain who managed to keep the aircraft under control. “It could have been the end of me and my family,” the passenger said.

Ageing fleet

There were no reports of injuries and the plane landed safely in Dar-es-Salaam. The flight had already been delayed by an hour due to “technical issues”, NewsDay said.

Air Zimbabwe runs a tiny fleet of ageing aircraft: two Boeings, an Airbus and one propeller plane. The company has been severely mismanaged and is currently struggling under a debt of around $300 million.

In a report to parliament this week Transport Minister Joram Gumbo said Air Zimbabwe would in the next few weeks “take delivery of new equipment which will greatly improve its operations”.

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