South African Airways (SAA) has issued an apology to passengers who experienced a massively delayed flight due to technical complications.
As news spread of the problematic Accra to Washington DC flight shared by American singer Deborah Cox, SAA released a statement to clear up certain misconceptions.
READ MORE ABOUT THE INCIDENT: US singer laments SAA’s handling of delayed flight due to 'damaged door'
"Two unconnected incidents contributed to the delay in departure from Accra on Sunday night. The first was damage to the aircraft door and subsequent to that, a technical problem occurred which led to a decision to night-stop in Accra whilst waiting for a replacement aircraft," says the statement.
There were no problems with the Airbus A330-200 as it flew between Johannesburg and Accra, but while on the ground refuelling a catering truck operated by SAA's service provider hit the aircraft door.
"After refuelling, the aircraft took off at approximately 03:13 UTC but soon returned to the airport in Accra when the cockpit crew noticed that the aircraft was experiencing a technical problem, which was detected in the cockpit. The operating crew followed standard operating procedures in cases of emergencies throughout and landed the aircraft safely as soon as possible.
"The incident led to an operational decision that it was undesirable to continue to operate the flight to Washington DC."
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SAA confirmed that there was no correlation between the door incident and the technical issue in the cockpit, and the airline also confirmed there was no fire in the cockpit despite certain reports on social media.
The affected plane is still on the ground in Accra as technicians are still determining the cause of the cockpit problem.
"SAA provided hotel accommodation to its customers in Accra and provided other services to mitigate the impact of the inconvenience to our passengers. In addition, SAA dispatched a replacement aircraft from Johannesburg to Accra to fly the passengers to their final destination.
"Whilst the incidents could not have been foreseen, the decision was taken based on safety considerations, in the best interests of passengers and crew.
"SAA is grateful that our crew followed every safety procedure and did not discount anything."
This is the original tweet from Cox: