Tuesday, May 24, 2022
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Airbus catches fire after runway excursion

Big scare for passengers on a Tibet Airlines flight. A plane from the Chinese company left the runway Thursday morning before catching fire at Chongqing International Airport (southwest China), without causing any deaths, according to the company. All 113 passengers and nine crew members were evacuated and brought “to safety”, the carrier said. About forty people, slightly injured, were however taken to hospital, the airport said.

The aircraft was to make a domestic flight between Chongqing and Nyingchi in the Tibet Autonomous Region (southwest China) but an incident occurred at 08:09 local time (00:09 GMT). A video broadcast by public broadcaster CCTV shows a plane on the tarmac and a violent fire raging, with thick black smoke rising in the sky. “During the take-off phase, the crew noticed an anomaly and aborted the procedure. The aircraft ran off the runway,” Tibet Airlines said in a statement. “The aircraft was damaged by fire.”

According to the Airfleets.net site, which specializes in air fleets, the aircraft is an Airbus A319, whose first flight dates back to the end of 2012. Tibet Airlines has 28 A319s out of a total fleet of 39 aircraft, all produced by the European manufacturer, according to the same source. This is the second air accident in China in less than two months, after the still unexplained fall of a Boeing 737-800 on March 21 in the Guangxi region (south), which killed 132 people. It was China’s deadliest air disaster in nearly 30 years, despite the country’s generally considered good air safety.

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