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Miraculous escape for 300 people as Emirates flight from Thiruvananthapuram crash-lands at Dubai airport

India TV News Desk Dubai 03 Aug 2016, 22:06:42 PM IST
India TV News Desk

Three hundred people, mostly Indians, had a miraculous escape on Wednesday when an Emirates flight from Thiruvananthapuram crash-landed and exploded on the runway at Dubai International Airport, shutting down one of the world's busiest airports and killing one of the firefighters. 

Emirates confirmed that flight EK521 with 282 passengers and 18 crew members on board was involved in an accident at Dubai international airport. The airline said there were 226 Indians aboard the Boeing 777-300. 

"Emirates can confirm that today, 3rd August 2016, flight EK521 travelling from Trivandrum International Airport in Thiruvananthapuram, India to Dubai has been involved in an accident at Dubai International Airport. There were 282 passengers and 18 crew on board," the airline said in a statement. 

Due to this incident, Dubai International Airport was closed for a few hours this afternoon and a number of flights were cancelled, delayed or diverted. Dubai International Airport gradually started to resume operations at approximately 1830 local time today. 

"We can confirm that there are no fatalities among our passengers and crew. All passengers and crew are accounted for and safe," Emirates said. 

However, a firefighter died while saving the lives of others, said the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA).

Around 10 passengers were treated for smoke inhalation and burn injuries at a hospital after the accident. Only one person was admitted for long-term treatment, local media said. 

The Boeing 777 aircraft departed at 10.19am from Thiruvananthapuram and was scheduled to land at 12.50pm at Dubai International Airport.

Among the 282 passengers, seven infants were also travelling, Thiruvananthapuram Airport director George Tharakkan told PTI. 

The flight had two Indian crew members on board, he said. 

There were a total of 74 foreigners on board including 24 from the UK, 11 from the UAE and six each from the US and Saudi Arabia. 

There were no official word for the cause of the accident, but media reports said the landing gear collapsed and the plane slid and exploded. 

 

Social media users, who witnessed the crash-landing at Dubai airport, shared pictures and videos on their timeline.  

The Boeing 777 aircraft departed at 10.19am from Thiruvananthapuram and was scheduled to land at 12.50pm at Dubai International Airport.

A report by Al Arabiya said that there was smoke onboard before the plane made an emergency landing.

The incident was the most serious to date for Emirates, it being the only loss for the airline since it started operations in 1985. The plane which was involved in the accident was 13 years old. 

Meanwhile, Dubai airport authorities suspended all operations after the Emirates flight accident. 

A total of 21 flights, including two to India, departing from Dubai were cancelled as a result of the incident. Some inbound flights were diverted to other regional airports. 

"Emergency response teams at Dubai Airport have fully extinguished the fire on the Emirates plane. All passengers and crew were safely evacuated," the Dubai media office tweeted after the accident. 

Video footage showed smoke billowing out of the Boeing 777 after the accident. 

Sai Bhaskar, a passenger on the flight, said most of the those travelling in the plane were from Kerala. 

There was no problem during the flight, Bhaskar said. "There was no announcement about any technical snag. We felt as if the flight first landed, went up again and hit the ground. When smoke engulfed the flight, we realised there was something amiss and we felt there was some danger," he said. 

"It was difficult to open the emergency exit at first," Bhaskar said, adding that if they had been stranded inside the aircraft even for a minute more, there would have been a tragedy.