DUBAI: Flight EK 521 had 295 on board, including 226 Indians. All were evacuated safely through emergency exits of the plane before the fire spread. A firefighter, however, died while trying to bring the blaze under control.
An Emirates airline flight from Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala crash-landed in Dubai and caught fire on Wednesday.
The plane, a Boeing 777, landed on its tail at the Dubai International Airport around 12.45 pm. Its right wing caught fire and a part of the engine appeared to have fallen off.
“There was a loud bang. There was smoke in the cabin. The evacuation began soon and everyone was out in a minute,” a passenger told NDTV.
Images on TV and social media showed flames bursting from the front of the plane and thick, black smoke rising from the fuselage. Ambulance sirens were heard in the backdrop.
A pilot who witnessed the incident told NDTV that he saw the plane coming in fast and hit the runway tail first.
“We saw big flames, then the body hit the runway and the right landing gear collapsed, followed by the right engine coming off. Then it skidded for a while until it stopped,” the pilot said.
According to air traffic control recordings cited by Aviation Herald, an independent website specialising in information on air accidents, controllers at Dubai had reminded the crew to lower the landing gear as it approached the runway but the crew announced they were aborting the landing to “go around”.
Emirates officials said the accident resulted in a four-hour network-wide delay for the airline’s operations.
Flights from Dubai were delayed and others were diverted to Sharjah.
“Thankfully there was no fatality among our passengers and our crew … Our first priority is the well-being of our passengers and our crew,” Emirates CEO Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Makhtoum said in a statement.
The aircraft involved in the accident was delivered in March 2003.
Emergency help line number of Emirates at Trivandrum Airport: 0471-3377337
Other helpline numbers: UAE – 8002111, UK – 00442034508853, US – 0018113502081