Nigeria Airways Flight 2120 was a Douglas DC-8-61 C-GMXQ owned by Canadian airline Nationair and chartered by Nigeria Airways to transport Nigerian pilgrims to and from Mecca. On 11 July 1991 the aircraft caught fire and crashed shortly after takeoff from King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, killing all 261 on board, including 14 Canadian aircrew.
The cause of the crash was found to be under-inflated tires, which in turn caused overheated tires to catch fire, and failure of hydraulic systems and eventual in-flight break-up of the aircraft shortly before making an emergency landing.
Transcript of the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR)
Capt. William Allan (Capt): "OK, you have control."First Officer Kent Davidge (FO): "I have control." (Sound of engines whistling higher)Capt: "Stable."FO: "Brakes released." (Sound of increased engine power)FO: "Set max thrust."Capt: "Max thrust." (The transcript says that "an oscillating sound" is heard and describes it as "something flapping for several seconds.")Unidentified crew member: "What's that?"FO: "We got a flat tire, you figure?"Capt: "You're not leaning on the brakes, eh?"FO: "No, I'm not. I got my feet on the bottom of the rudder."Capt: " Eighty knots. Ninety knots now."FO: "Ninety know, check." (An intermittent oscillating sound is now heard. The transcript says this sound is different from the first flapping sound heard above.)Flight Engineer Victor Fehr (FE): (commenting on the sound), "Sort of a shimmy, like if you're riding on one of those, ah, thingamajigs."Capt: "Rotate"Capt: "Positive rate."FO: "(Landing) gear up."Jedda control tower: "Two-one-two-zero, one-two-nine-two, Jedda radar, good day!"
One minute and fifteen seconds later:
FE: "You've got four low-pressure lights."Capt: "What have we got?"FE: "You've got four low-pressure lights."Capt: "Yeah."Capt: "Flaps up."FE: "We might be losing pressurization."Unidentified crew member: "OK, it's not press..."FE: "Uncontrolled. Pressurization is uncontrolled."Capt: "Level off."FO: "OK."Capt to control tower: "Ah... Nationair two-one-two-zero, we'd like to just level off at two thousand feet, ah...if that's OK, we're having a slight pressurization problem. I'd just like to level off at, ah...two thousand, ah...feet."FO: "I've got a spoiler light.l"Control tower: "Descend three thousand feet, three thousand feet, fly heading one-three-zero."FE: "Gear unsafe light."Capt: "OK."Capt to control tower: "OK. Heading one-three-zero and ah...understand you want us up to three thousand feet."FE: "OK, I thought I blew a tire."Capt: "Flaps up."Control tower: "Heading one-two-zero, heading one-two-zero."Capt to tower: "OK. One-six (sic) zero, and we're losing our hydraulics, sir. We're going to , ah...need to come back to Jedda to land."Control tower: "Confirm Nigerian two-one-two-zero...descend in this area...Unidentified crew member: "The airbrake thing just broke!"FE: "We got a flaps-slot light."Capt to tower: "OK, sir, ah... we have, ah.. a problem, we're levelling at three thousand feet here right at the moment"Capt to cockpit crew: "Level off right now, right now level off!"FO: "We're at level three."FO: "Climb thrust."Capt to tower: "OK, Levelling at three thousand feet and if you could give us a heading back toward the, ah...runway."FO: "OK. Your pump pressure's, ah, OK, Vic."FE: "All the pumps are going." (From this point, a new buzzing noise that increases in intensity and/or frequency is heard through to the end of the recording.)Unidentified crew member: "OK, folks. We got an unlock light... we're going re..."Capt: "Yeah, we're going back, we've got blown tires...and we got a hydraulic problem, OK."(Flight attendant says something unintelligible to Capt.)
Capt: "Yeah, just tell them we'll be returning to, ah, Jedda."
(Pronounced buzzing noise.)
Capt: "OK. Let's, ah, get squared away (loud crackle noise) and see what we've got here."
(Unidentified flight attendant enters and says something to pilot. It is unintelligible on the tape.)
Capt to FA: "Just tell them we have a problem and we're gonna be returning, OK?"Unidentified crew member: "OK, what I've got is a slot-flap light...lost all hydraulics..."Unidentified crew member: "I've got no ailerons!"Capt: "OK, hang on, I've got it."
(End of recording. The recording appears to end in flight)