Tuesday, 6 December 2011

PM stranded as floods hit Mwanza Airport

From The Citizen Daily, Dar es Salaam
By Frederick Katulanda

Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda was among passengers who were stranded when heavy rains caused floods that prompted closure of Mwanza Airport lasting nearly six hours.

Aircraft could neither land nor take off as a major part of the runway and taxiways were covered with water.

Mr Pinda was in Mwanza to attend the 40th anniversary of Weil Bugando Referral Hospital celebrations. He had arrived from Dar es Salaam on Friday evening for a three-day visit, which he concluded earlier yesterday, only for his return journey to be put on hold on account of the flooded airport.

A similar ordeal faced passengers bound for Mwanza from elsewhere, including Julius Nyerere International Airport.

The floods occurred only three weeks after similar incident last month.Talking to The Citizen on the phone, the Mwanza Airport manager, Ms Esther Mdale, said they were forced to close the airport for obvious safety reasons.

“The runway and taxiways were flooded and no plane could land or take off. That is why we decided to close the facility for six hours. After clearing it, we will assess the situation before opening it for resumption of operations,” she said earlier in the day.

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