By Kebba Ansu Manneh
An anonymous Gambian expert with vast experience in Airport Security and safety has blamed the Gambia Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) for the death of an unidentified man found on the Wheel Bay of a TUI Flight en route from Banjul to Gatwick Airport in the UK.
He stressed the incident depicts serious lapses in security at the Banjul International Airport that needs to be addressed without delay.
The expert who prefers anonymity made these remarks following a press release issued by the Gambian Government with information with regard to the death of an unidentified man with no identity who was found on the Wheel Bay of TUI Airline flight number BY225 on 5th December 2022.
In the release, Government revealed that information gathered indicated that a black man allegedly a Gambian was found within the Wheel Bay of the flight without identification documents to establish his name, age, nationality, or travel itinerary and his body was removed from the aircraft and taken to Worthing Hospital where fingerprints and DNA samples were taken for proper identification.
The Expert observed that the unidentified Gambian may have entered the TUI Airline flight Wheel Bay at the Banjul International Airport without any detection from the Airport Securities, noting this is the second time such an incident occurred in Africa after the South African Airways (SAA) flight bound for New York out of Dakar in 2005.
“If it was a non-stop flight from Banjul to London Gatwick, the person entered the wheel bay at Banjul international airport. This is a serious security lapse because there should be a ramp guard who should watch and oversee all the activities whilst the aircraft is on the ground at the airport,” he observed.
He further stated that there was also a security issue about access control as to how this person got into the airfield which is a control zone of the airport which requires security checks.
He advised the general public to desist from such a dangerous act which he said is equivalent to a suicide mission.
According to him, the escape of the unidentified man entering the wheel bay of the TUI Flight shows how insecure the Banjul International Airport is becoming, saying what would have happened if the person was a terrorist with explosive devices.
“The mission of terrorists and suicide bombers is to kill everyone in his target including himself. This makes it very necessary for GCAA to beef up its security protocols that will ensure the safety of the entire premises of the airport,” Expert warned.
The expert finally called on the Government of The Gambia to look into the entire security framework of the airport including the Securitport Company that is scooping $20 from in and outbound passengers using the airport, arguing that millions been collected by Securitport should be plowed back to GCAA to ensuring overhaul security of the entire premises of the Banjul International Airport.