The first batch of over 500 Muslims who were to fly out of Ghana last night to perform this year’s hajj are currently stranded at the Hajj Village in Tamale in the Northern Region.
A total of 506 Muslims from the northern sector of Ghana were to have left the Tamale International Airport at 8:30pm Thursday for Medina in Saudi Arabia but the flight was cancelled due to a technical fault with the chartered plane, TV3’s Zubaida Ismail reported Friday.
Would-be pilgrims who had gone through all departure formalities at the airport wing were left with no choice but to spend the night at the Hajj Village at Tamale.
Authorities of the Hajj Board are tightlipped about the incident and have directed all queries to the Ghana Airport Company in view of the nature of the issue, our correspondent added.
Sources close to the airport officials say the Boeing 747-400 from Nas Airlines in Saudi Arabia, which was expected to have arrived in Tamale at 5:30pm Thursday, left Jeddah two hours after the scheduled time.
The plane was said to have developed a technical fault en route to Ghana, forcing it to return to Jeddah for safety reasons, the sources told 3News Friday morning.
Small aircraft secured
Our sources say arrangements have been made for another flight from Medina to airlift the passengers from the Tamale Airport Friday afternoon.
According to 3News sources, the new plane left Medina 9:00am Friday and it is expected to land at the Tamale Airport at 1.30pm and depart at exactly 3:0pm with the first batch of passengers.
However, it is emerging that about 70 of the passengers booked for the first flight are likely to be left behind due to the fact that the new plane secured is a smaller than the original flight.
The development, some fear, would ultimately affect the four subsequent flights.
A total of 6,200 Muslims across Ghana are scheduled to join others from the world to perform this year’s hajj. Five flights have been scheduled to take off from the Tamale Airport from August 10 to 14 with a total of 3,000 Muslims from the three northern regions.