Three hundred people, mostly Indians, had a narrow escape today when a packed Emirates flight from Thiruvananthapuram to Dubai crash landed and caught fire in Dubai with authorities saying that all on board were evacuated safely.
Emirates confirmed that flight EK521 with 282 passengers and 18 crew members on board was involved in an accident at Dubai international airport. The airlines said there were 226 Indians aboard the Boeing 777-300.
“We can confirm that there are no fatalities among our passengers and crew. All passengers and crew are accounted for and safe,” the airlines said in statement.
The flight EK521 departed at 10.19 AM from Trivandrum International Airport and was scheduled to land at 12.50 PM at Dubai International Airport.
Among the 282 passengers, seven infants were also travelling in the flight, 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 the flight including 24 from the UK, 11 from the UAE and six each from the US and Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Dubai airport authorities suspended all operations after the Emirates flight accident.
“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.
Some of the passengers were injured while trying to jump from the emergency exit, he said.
“People have inhaled smoke. Those who left the plane early might not have. But those who went out later have inhaled smoke,” another passenger said.