The Gambian national football team experienced a frightening episode en route to the Africa Cup of Nations in Ivory Coast, forced to make an emergency landing due to a lack of oxygen onboard. The situation was disclosed in an official statement issued by Gambia’s Football Federation.
According to the statement, the troubling experience began soon after the team boarded the chartered flight. “As soon as we entered the small plane that had been hired to transport us, we noticed the intense heat that left our foreheads dripping. We were reassured by the staff that the air conditioning would start once we took off”, the statement revealed.
The team reported severe discomfort due to the sweltering heat and the lack of oxygen, which resulted in many of them suffering from severe headaches and dizziness. Shortly thereafter, many fell into a deep sleep, but once airborne, the situation drastically deteriorated.
According to the statement, the pilot had no other option but to initiate an emergency landing at Banjul airport, just nine minutes post-take off. “Thankfully, it turned out well. Had it not been for the pilot, the consequences could have been severe. We are aware of what could have happened had we been exposed to such conditions for a prolonged period. We are glad that everyone is safe, but this is an issue the AFCON needs to address”.