Footage has emerged of the moment terrified passengers screamed as they feared they were about to die after one of its engines allegedly caught fire mid-flight.
They chanted prayers as smoke poured into the cabin of the plane, which began to move “up and down”.
Travellers could smell something burning about 20 minutes after take-off and the smoke “got thicker” and alarms went off.
Folk can be heard praying, screaming and crying as the flight crew prepared to make an emergency landing without oxygen masks for the passengers.
The Mirror reported that passenger Oriakwu Okwesilieze wrote on Twitter that the Aero Contractors plane “started smoking” about 20 minutes into a domestic flight from Port Harcourt to Lagos in Nigeria on Wednesday.
The plane was carrying 53 passengers, including a seven-month-old baby, according to Sahara Reporters.
As smoke filled the cabin oxygen masks failed to deploy from the ceiling and passengers were told to cover their mouths and noses with wet towels handed out by the crew, a report claimed.
Ms Okwesilieze said passengers were chanting prayers, screaming and panicking for 35 minutes as smoke continued to fill the cabin before the plane landed safely in Lagos.
She wrote: “Like we just took off and I’m about to die? Nah! God can’t let this happen. The smoke was so thick we couldn’t see, the blades were sparking.
“Pilot said we should calm down but something was burning, smelling and the smoke got thicker, the alarms went off but he said to calm down?
“I prayed and quoted all the bible verses I could think of. I was shaking, the plane was moving up and down, women were screaming at the back.”
Ms Okwesilieze said the plane was met by firefighters as it landed.
She wrote: “Everyone is shouting sue sue but I’m just grateful to be alive and on ground.
“Every One on this aero contractor flight could have died today but for God.”
I escaped death on Aero flight from port harcourt to lagos today the 18th of April.
It can only be God. I’m thankful father
— ORIAKU (OKWESILIEZE) (@puffypearl) April 18, 2017
Nigeria’s Civil Aviation Authority and the airline are investigating the incident.
A spokesman for the airline told Sahara Reporters that everything appeared to be normal during a routine pre-flight check of the plane.
He said an alarm sounded and smoke filled the cabin after a passenger went into a lavatory.
But passengers and Nigerian media described the incident as an engine fire.
The spokesman commended the pilot and crew for their “professionalism” during the emergency.