The national men’s football team suffered a mid-air scare on Monday night when the South African Airways aircraft they were travelling in on their way from Mozambique failed a smooth landing at Harare International Airport because of a “short runway”.
The Warriors were coming from Maputo via Johannesburg where they had gone for a 2014 Group G World Cup assignment against the Mambas of Mozambique.
They drew 0-0 with the hosts after their opening 1-0 home defeat to Guinea on June 3 in a faltering campaign for the Brazil finals.
Having left Mozambique on Monday noon, the team arrived in Johannesburg after an hour’s flight before spending the next seven hours in the South African commercial capital.
Drama was to await the Warriors just before the plane was about to land at Harare International Airport.
After the captain had announced that the plane was going to land in the next 13 minutes during the aircraft’s descent to the ground, suddenly it went airborne sending shivers down the spines of all the passengers on board.
After about 15 minutes while on the sudden ascent, the captain told the passengers that they had taken the decision because “the runway at Harare International Airport was short and he did not want to take chances”.
According to the captain, there could have been disaster if the plane had landed at the speed of his initial attempt, so he chose to go airborne again and return at a lower speed which was in sync with the short runway.
The atmosphere in the plane was tense. There was dead silence and the passengers only heaved a sigh of relief after a smooth landing on the second attempt.
One passenger said: “This was the scariest moment of my life. I thought we were going to die. All this time I was praying to God for us to land safely.
“I have never been in such an anxious situation. Thank God we landed safely.”