World

Firefighter killed after airliner crash-lands in Dubai

An Emirates flight from India with 300 people on board crash-lands at Dubai's main airport, sending black smoke billowing into the air and halting all traffic at the Middle East's busiest airport.

10 passengers in hospital after Emirates Flight EK521 comes down on runway, spewing black smoke

An Emirates flight from India with 300 people on board crash-landed at Dubai's main airport on Wednesday, sending black smoke billowing into the air and halting all traffic at the Middle East's busiest airport.

Authorities said all passengers were safe, but a firefighter was killed, according to the airline's CEO. 

Ahmed bin Saeed Al-Maktoum also said on Wednesday night that 10 people were hospitalized. 

The crash happened around 12:45 p.m. local time as Flight EK521 was arriving from the southern Indian city of Thiruvananthapuram.

Airline officials refused to answer questions from journalists, including what might have caused the plane to crash land. 

"We do not have … all the information. Thankfully there [were] no fatalities among our passengers and crew," Al-Maktoum said in a video statement. "Our thoughts are with everyone involved."

The Boeing 777 was carrying 282 passengers and 18 crew members, according to the Dubai-based airline, which had earlier provided a lower figure.

Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, identified the firefighter as Jassim Eissa al-Baloushi in a message posted to his official Twitter account on Wednesday night. He asked God to comfort the dead first responder's family.

Mohammed also wrote that Emiratis should be proud of al-Baloushi's sacrifice while "performing his duty in protecting life and saving people."

Mohammed also serves as the prime minister and vice-president of the United Arab Emirates.

Passengers safe after plane crash lands in Dubai

5 years ago
Duration 0:38
Emirates plane with about 300 aboard catches fire after emergency landing 0:38

Video posted online showed black smoke billowing from what looked like an Emirates jetliner lying on its belly on the runway.

Firefighters soon managed to bring the fire under control, with Associated Press journalists at the airport reporting that the charred fuselage of the plane appeared to no longer be burning. The top of the aircraft was scorched brown from near the cockpit back to its tail. Several yellow fire trucks surrounded the plane.

Passengers said that minutes before the flight crash-landed, the pilot made an announcement that he needed to make an emergency landing.

Iype Vallikadan, a reporter from Indian newspaper Mathrubhumi News, said the passengers indicated the pilot spoke to them as the plane neared Dubai, saying there was a problem with the landing gear and that he would make an emergency landing.

Passengers said the cabin crew opened all the emergency exits of the plane and it was evacuated within minutes of the landing.

Dubai resident Girisankal Gangadhakan said his wife called him after the plane landed to tell him that she and their three children were safe.

"I was shocked when I heard about that," he said.

The jet departed Thiruvananthapuram at 10:19 a.m. and was scheduled to land at 12:50 p.m. local time, according to Emirates.

Thiruvananthapuram is the capital of the southwestern Indian state of Kerala. Many blue-collar migrant workers employed in the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf nations come from Kerala, which is a popular beachside tourist destination.

Officials from the airline and Dubai International Airport declined to immediately provide further details when reached by phone, but Emirates released the nationalities of the passengers and crew via social media. Most of them are from India. There were no Canadians on board. 

Emirates predicted there would be an eight-hour delay in operations across its network, up from an original estimate of four hours. 

"Our main priority at this time is the safety and wellbeing of all involved and full co-operation is being extended to the authorities and emergency services managing the situation," the carrier said.

Dubai International is by far the Mideast's busiest airport, and is the world's busiest air hub in terms of international passenger traffic. Government-backed Emirates is the region's biggest carrier, and operates the world's largest airline fleet of the wide-body 777 long-haul aircraft.

The airport suspended all arrivals and departures shortly after the crash, but later said normal flights would resume at 6:30 p.m. local time (10:30 p.m. ET). 

With files from CBC News

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