Air­port drama in­ves­ti­gated

Ten in hos­pi­tal af­ter emer­gency land­ing at Dubai In­ter­na­tional

7 Days in Dubai - - NEWS - By 7DAYS News Team @7DAYSUAE news@7days.ae

Avi­a­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tors are to­day prob­ing an ac­ci­dent at Dubai In­ter­na­tional Air­port that saw an Emi­rates flight burst into flames shortly af­ter land­ing yes­ter­day.

Three hun­dred pas­sen­gers and crew were evac­u­ated from Flight EK521 from In­dia to Dubai af­ter it landed in dif­fi­culty about 12.45pm. Pas­sen­gers were taken into the ter­mi­nal as crews bat­tled the fire on the Boe­ing 777-300.

Emi­rates said “all pas­sen­gers and crew are ac­counted for and safe”, how­ever, Dubai Air­ports said that one of the fire­fight­ers died from in­juries sus­tained tack­ling the fire.

Black smoke was sent bil­low­ing into the air and the wreck­age blocking the run­way halted all traf­fic. At least 54 Emi­rates flights were can­celled, di­verted to nearby air­ports or told to turn around while in mid-air.

One eye­wit­ness said EK521 ap­peared to have “belly landed”, mean­ing its wheels were not fully ex­tended when it touched down, how­ever this has not been con­firmed by ei­ther Emi­rates or Dubai Air­ports, al­though the UAE Gen­eral Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity (GCAA) de­scribed the in­ci­dent as an “emer­gency land­ing”.

Af­ter it came to a stand­still, flames ap­peared to burst from the up­per sec­tion of the air­craft, im­ages and video cir­cu­lated on­line showed.

Af­ter the fire was out, scorched sec­tions of fuse­lage could be seen from cock­pit to tail.

Among the anx­ious fam­ily mem­bers was Dubai res­i­dent Girisankal Gan­gad­hakan. He said his wife called him af­ter the plane from Thiruvananthapuram landed to tell him that she and their three chil­dren were safe, but that there had been an ac­ci­dent.

“I was shocked when I heard about that,” he told the As­so­ci­ated Press.

Dubai’s Rashid Hos­pi­tal mo­bilised a large trau- ma team but the cen­tre’s Dr Ja­mal Al Hosani said they treated only mi­nor in­juries.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Mak­toum, Chair­man and Chief Ex­ec­u­tive of Emi­rates Air­line and Group, de­liv­ered a video mes­sage yes­ter­day af­ter­noon. He said: “Thank­fully there were no fa­tal­i­ties among our pas­sen­gers and crew. Our first pri­or­ity in this case will be for our pas­sen­gers and crew, and an­swer­ing queries from all the fam­i­lies.”

At a press con­fer­ence last night, he added that 10 peo­ple were still be­ing treated in hos­pi­tal.

Sep­a­rately, Saif Mo­hammed Al Suwaidi, Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of the avi­a­tion au­thor­ity, said: “The GCAA has mo­bilised the in­ves­ti­ga­tion team who is work­ing along with Emi­rates Air­lines and the Dubai air­port author­i­ties.”

Last night, author­i­ties said Dubai Air­port had re­opened and that flights would be­gin re­sum­ing as of 6.30pm.

Avi­a­tion ex­pert Mikael Roberts­son, founder of fligh­tradar24.com, said: “A flight takes off or lands ev­ery 90 sec­onds from Dubai In­ter­na­tional Air­port, so the ef­fect will have been very big.”

SAFE: A fam­ily thought to have been on­board is shown to a taxi, ac­cord­ing to As­so­ci­ated Press

HARD LAND­ING: Footage posted on­line by Ed­mund Basil shows the plane in dif­fi­culty

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