Emi­rates plane crash-lands at Dubai air­port

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL -

All 300 peo­ple on board were able to es­cape from the burn­ing air­craft, but a fire­fighter was killed tackling the blaze.

The Boe­ing 777 ap­peared to have landed on its belly, and images showed thick black smoke ris­ing into the sky.

Emi­rates chair­man Ahmed bin Saeed al-Mak­toum paid trib­ute to the fire­fighter who lost his life fight­ing the blaze. The air­craft was fly­ing to Dubai from the south­ern In­dian state of Ker­ala. Flights to and from the air­port were sus­pended for sev­eral hours.

The Emi­rates chair­man told a press con­fer­ence that evac­u­a­tion pro­ce­dures were ex­e­cuted pro­fes­sion­ally and the cabin crews were the last to leave the plane.

Thir­teen peo­ple had suf­fered mi­nor in­juries, he said.

A pas­sen­ger on board the plane told Reuter’s news agency that the ex­pe­ri­ence was ter­ri­fy­ing. “As we were land­ing there was smoke com­ing out in the cabin,” said Sharon Maryam Sharji. “Peo­ple were scream­ing and we had a very hard land­ing. We left by go­ing down the emer­gency slides and as we were leav­ing on the run­way, we could see the whole plane catch fire.”

Emi­rates said there were 282 pas­sen­gers and 18 crew on board from 20 na­tion­al­i­ties, most of them In­dian, with 24 Bri­tons and 11 peo­ple from the United Arab Emi­rates.

The cap­tain and the first of­fi­cer have over 7,000 hours of fly­ing ex­pe­ri­ence each, the air­line said.

The in­flat­able emer­gency exit slides can be seen next to the re­mains of the air­craft.

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