Chinese plane aborts takeoff, catches fire, causes minor injuries during evacuation

Rescue workers are seen at the site where a Tibet Airlines Airbus A319 plane caught fire after an aborted takeoff, at Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport in Chongqing, China May 12, 2022. cnsphoto via REUTERS

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BEIJING, May 12 (Reuters) – China’s Tibet Airlines said all passengers and crew had been evacuated from an Airbus (AIR.PA) A319 plane that caught fire on Thursday after an aborted takeoff in the city of Chongqing, in the southwest of the country.

There were no fatalities and only minor injuries among the 113 passengers and nine crew on board, the airline said in a statement.

The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said 36 people suffered bruises and sprains during the evacuation of flight TV9833 and were sent to local hospitals for examination.

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The pilots had aborted takeoff as per procedures after experiencing an anomaly, the CAAC said in a statement, resulting in engine scrubbing and a fire after the plane veered off the runway.

Contingency plans were activated and investigators rushed to the scene, the aviation regulator added.

The incident comes less than two months after the fatal crash of a China Eastern Airlines plane (600115.SS) led the CAAC to launch sector-wide inspections to detect possible material deficiencies. of security. Read more

Unverified video on social media showed a plane from Tibet Airlines, a subsidiary of Air China (601111.SS), with thick smoke and flames pouring from the left side of the plane as passengers and the crew fled.

Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport said the plane caught fire at 8:09 a.m. local time (0009 GMT).

A passenger identified as Mr A in Chinese media said there was a sudden vibration and oxygen masks were lowered before the plane made an unusual noise and rolled off the runway.

Crew members noticed fuel oil leaking and began evacuating passengers via slides, MA said A fire quickly broke out, forcing some passengers, including himself, to jump from the plane, he said, adding that he had injured his back and legs.

Unverified photos on social media show the two engines separated from the airframe as well as a major crack in the rear fuselage and damage to the right wing.

The aircraft involved is a nine-year-old A319, one of the smaller versions of the A320 family. It is powered by CFM56 engines from CFM International, a joint venture between General Electric (GE.N) and Safran (SAF.PA), according to Airfleets.net.

Airbus said it was aware of media reports of the incident and was doing everything possible to assess the situation.

Tibet Airlines is a regional airline based in Lhasa. It has a fleet of 39 planes, including 28 A319s, according to Airfleets.net.

On March 21, a China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737-800 (600115.SS) with 132 people on board crashed in the mountains of southern China, killing everyone on board. So far, there are few clues about the cause of the accident. Read more

The tragedy shocked a country that had dramatically improved its safety record to become one of the best in the world. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, China was one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world, measured by passenger traffic, over the past decade.

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Reporting by Stella Qiu in Beijing and Jamie Freed in Sydney; Editing by Lincoln Feast, Jacqueline Wong and Simon Cameron-Moore

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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