GAMBIA – The Gambia football team narrowly cheated death flying to the Africa Cup of Nations as they came ‘within half-an-hour of dying’ after the cabin oxygen supply failed.
According to Mail Online, the squad and coaching staff were on a flight from the capital city of Banjul heading for the Ivory Coast for the tournament when several players passed out shortly after boarding the plane.
Just nine minutes after take-off, the pilot was forced to return to Banjul Airport for an emergency landing with oxygen supplies on board running low.
A former Manchester United player, Saidy Janko, said in an Instagram post some on board were left suffering from ‘strong headaches and extreme dizziness’.
Janko, who posted a video of the squad disembarking the plane, slammed his country’s association for the ‘unacceptable’ situation.
The Gambia squad heading to the Africa Cup of Nations narrowly averted disaster after their plane’s oxygen supply failed, forcing them to make an emergency landing.
The Gambia’s Belgian coach Tom Saintfiet told Nieuwsblad: ‘We could all have been dead. We all fell asleep quickly. Me, too. I had short dreams about how my life was done. Really and truly.
“After nine minutes the pilot decided to return because there was no oxygen supply. Some players did not wake up [until] immediately after landing.
“We almost got carbon monoxide poisoning. Another half hour of flying and we would all have been dead.”
Janko, 28, wrote on Instagram: “Unacceptable. After travelling 32 hours in total from Saudi Arabia (Training Camp) to The Gambia with long layovers in Istanbul and Casablanca, we were supposed to fly from Gambia to Ivory Coast for the AFCON today.
“As soon as we entered the small plane that was hired to fly us, we noticed the immense heat that left us dripping in sweat. It was assured to us by the crew that the air conditioning would start once we are in the sky.
“The inhumane heat mixed with the occurring lack of oxygen left many people with strong headaches and extreme dizziness. Furthermore, people started falling deeply asleep minutes after entering the aircraft/takeoff.”