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Iraqi transport minister 'terrifies passengers after almost crashing aeroplane' Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Iraqi transport minister 'terrifies passengers after almost crashing aeroplane'

A lawmaker said Finjan should be dismissed from his position for his audacious behaviour [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 April, 2017

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Iraq's transport minister has allegedly given aeroplane passengers the ride of their lives after taking control of the control of an aircraft and almost crash landing.

Iraq's transport minister has allegedly given aeroplane passengers the ride of their lives after taking control of an aircraft and almost crash landing.

Kazem Finjan reportedly decided to play top gun this week on an Iraqi Airways flight from Baghdad to Basra with 200 people on board, resulting in a hair-raising landing for passengers, a senior Iraqi official told The New Arab.

"The minister entered the cockpit and asked to if he could land the plane… the captain told his co-pilot to give his seat to the minister so he could land it under his supervision," the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity said.

"The minister did not do a good job. He slammed the front of the plane into the ground, sending the passengers into a panic," the source said.

The source added that the captain stepped in just in time to prevent a catastrophe from taking place, adding that plane was heavily damaged during the botched landing and has been taken out of service for repairs.

The spokesman for the Iraqi Civil Aviation Authority, Salem Moussa, denied the accusations against Finjan, however, a civil servant at the authority said the minister was on board the plane and had attempted to land it.

Local broadcaster al-Sharqiya TV on Saturday aired a video made by a passenger on the flight, who confirmed that the plane almost crashed and that the aircrew had told passengers that Finjan had been in control.

"During the landing the plane suddenly dove directly towards the ground. We were all terrified, women were screaming and some elderly were injured… Thank God we survived," the passenger said.

He also said that the flight had been delayed over an hour and a half because crew were waiting for Finjan to arrive from a meeting.

Lawmaker Nadhem al-Saadi told The New Arab that Finjan should be dismissed from his position for his audacious behaviour.

"What has happened reveals the minister's recklessness and disregard for the law," Saadi, who heads parliament's services committee, said.

This would not be the first time Finjan has been in the news for bizarre incidents.

Last year, he made the outrageous claim during a press conference that the ancient Sumerians invented space travel and discovered Pluto, falsely claiming it to be the solar system's "twelfth planet".

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